(Reuters) - Manchester City have launched a FIFA Online team in Beijing to compete in the Tencent’s Online Star League (FSL), the English Premier League soccer champions said on Tuesday.
Esports, where players can compete in electronic versions of “real” sports, boast an estimated 250 million players worldwide, more than many Olympic sports federations combined, in a growing market worth about a billion dollars a year.
“We are delighted to enter the exciting world of gaming in China, the biggest market in the world for esports,” City’s regional director for China David Tang said in a statement.
City are the first team from the English top flight to enter China’s esports market and will have a team of five players who will compete in the new FSL season that kicks off on June 15.
“We are looking forward to watching the team play in the FSL as they strive to become champions and add to the success we have enjoyed on the pitch this season.”
Esports will be a demonstration event at this year’s Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia and are set to debut as a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
At last year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, players competed in a multi-player online battle arena as well as in real time attack games.
Reporting by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith