In a deal indicative of the growing ties between esports and the traditional sporting world, Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard both tightened their links to the sector.

Breaking down the developments on the latest ESI Digest, Esports Insider, Sub-Editor, Tom Daniels shared his views on the two footballer’s decisions. 

Piqué’s involvement in the sector has been bolstered by the €300,000 sale of Astralis Stormbringers, the academy of esports organisation Astralis, to sports and entertainment company Kosmos.

The agreement has seen Piqué, who serves as President of Kosmos, become a Co-Owner of the team, alongside Twitch streamer Ibai Llanos. As a result of the deal, the duo’s League of Legends team will compete in the LVP Superliga from 2022 onwards, taking the place of the Astralis team.

“I think this is a very exciting move,” Daniels commented. “Obviously the ERLs are starting to grow, year-on-year, we’ve seen the likes of Carmine Corp really develop a following in France, and it looks like this team – which is being owned by Piqué and Kosmos – is looking to do the same thing.”

He added: “It will also be very interesting to see how this team approaches this. Is it going to go for the jugular straight away and try and be the best Spanish team in that league, or are they going to go for more of a development side and build up prospects? 

“This is very interesting for the state of Europe and how more teams are getting interested, not just in the LSC but in lower leagues as well.”

The second major link of the week between esports and football was Jesse Lingard’s acquisition of Audacity Esports, in a deal which will see the latter’s Rainbow Six Siege team – Team JLE – rebranded as JLINGZ.

The team will compete in the next season of the UK and Ireland Nationals (UKIN), with the ambition of qualifying for the 2022 European Challenger League.

Lingard joins a number of footballers to engage with the sports space, including the aforementioned Pique as well as David Beckham, Siergo Ageuro, Harry Maguire and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Daniels remarked: “They do want to qualify for the 2022 European Challenger League in the future – that’s a very interesting goal for the organisation, which I think is probably achievable if the right things are done.

“Overall, I think this is a great story and it’s nice to see Rainbow Six Siege also get a little bit of attention in terms of acquisition.”

Additionally stories covered in the ESI Digest are the merchandise partnership between FaZe Clan and OpTic gaming, Design Studios’ collaboration with LPL and the inclusion of Honour of Kings teams in Arena of Valor.

Source – Esports Insider YouTube Channel

ESI Digest: Piqué and Lingard strengthen esports connections