English football club Manchester City is part of a growing number of traditional sports organisations that are beginning to dip their toes into the esports waters. This week they are partnering up with the North American esports organisation FaZe Clan to host a Fortnite Tournament.
The event is called The FaZe City Cup. The players at the tournament will be made up from members of the FaZe Clan Fortnite roster as well as Manchester City player Kevin De Bruyne. It will be held tomorrow, on the 21st of January from 4 to 6pm GMT.
This collaboration is a continuation of their already existing partnership and it coincides with the release of Fortnite’s ‘Kickoff Set’ cosmetic bundle. These cosmetics contain the kits of 23 football clubs including Manchester City, Wolves, Juventus, and more.
The event is open to the public and it will consist of teams of 2 competing to win the event. The top 100 players or 50 teams of two will earn early access to the Manchester City skin and special in-game emotes.
Nuria Tarre, Chief Marketing Officer at City Football Group, said: “The FaZe City Cup featuring Fortnite is an exciting first for the club in one of the most popular gaming titles globally and we hope fans worldwide will get involved in the competition and wear their Manchester City outfits in-game with pride.”
“Given their significant existing presence within Fortnite, we are delighted to partner with FaZe Clan on this competition. It is further testament to our partnership with FaZe Clan, through which we will continue to explore opportunities to bring our fans new and immersive ways to engage with the Club.”
Lee Trink, FaZe Clan CEO, said: “The FaZe City Cup featuring Fortnite is an important illustration of our groundbreaking partnership with Manchester City. Alongside Manchester City, we are thrilled to be a part of a competitive tournament in Fortnite. We look forward to building on this tournament and hope to produce more entertaining competitions in the future.”
Other teams taking part
23 football teams will have their kits featured in Fortnite. It isn’t just Manchester City that is taking part in the promotion of their partnership. Football clubs all around the world are hosting their own versions of Fortnite Tournaments.
Santos FC, the long-time club of football legend Pele, will be featured in the game. Like Manchester City, they will have their kit in the game as well as a custom emote of Pele’s famous air punch. They are also hosting the Pele Star Cup, another Fortnite tournament.
Speaking to CNN Sportv, Nate Nanzer, Head of Global Partnerships at Epic Games, said:
“We’ve spent a lot of time listening to our players and having conversations with them about what do they want to see next. Overwhelmingly, the sport that we hear from our players that is most wanted to come to the game is global football, soccer.”
It is clear that both sides of this partnership are getting serious about their involvement. Traditional sports operations are realising that they have to move with the times and find new and engaging ways to promote their sport. Epic Games and Fortnite seem to think that the huge viewer base of international football is a good place to find new fans.
Manchester City is not the first team to partner up with esports organisations. European football club AC Milan has joined the growing numbers of traditional sports organisations starting esports divisions. Instead of creating their division from scratch, they have partnered with one of the largest esports organisation in Italy, QLASH.
In late 2020, the Premier League and EA announced season three of the ePremier League. Players can compete in the game FIFA 21 in a tournament that will give them the chance to win some titles for their favourite Premier League team. You have already missed the date to sign up for this event, but the online qualifiers are currently being held.
In 2019, the FA launched England’s first esports team: eLions. The FA started with a search for FIFA 19 players to represent the Three Lions at the inaugural FIFA eNations Cup.
If you are interested in the esports betting scene surrounding FIFA or European esports in general, you could do a lot worse than hedging your bets and checking out some of the teams that have partner with football clubs or are run by them. They will have a level of investment and training that other organisations may not have the resources to provide.