Key takeaways from ‘Football Gaming: A New World of Opportunity’

We were invited down to the Soccerex Global Convention 2016 in Manchester to moderate and chair a panel on the subject of eSports and gaming.

Soccerex is a three-day event which brings together the biggest names in world football and our Client Services Director, Kenny Ager, took centre stage to discuss the future and the commercial opportunities within the eSports and gaming industry.

The panel, which was entitled ‘Football Gaming: A New World of Opportunity’, included Miles Jacobson OBE, Studio Director at Sports Interactive (makers of Football Manager) and David Bytheway, a professional eSports player for German Bundesliga side, VfL Wolfsburg. 

To set the scene, Kenny introduced the two panellists and reeled off a number of killer eSports stats. These included:

  • Latest expert predictions value the eSports global economy at $465m

  • 2015 League of Legends Final was live streamed by 330m people around the world

  • eSports fans around the world are set to equal that of NFL fans in the next two years

  • EA recently announced that more than 23 billion minutes of it’s latest incarnation have been played globally  

Miles Jacobson OBE went on to explain Sports Interactive and how they have developed over the years.

Since Football Manager 2016 launched, the game has been played for over 200m hours. In that time, 6.1m seasons have been completed.

David Bytheway also admitted that he isn’t even a gamer! He started playing FIFA against a friend who he wanted to beat for bragging rights, this then evolved into online gameplay, then into competitive competitions, before signing a contract with VfL Wolfsburg.

The German Bundesliga club have used the signing of David to engage a younger audience by giving them the opportunity to play David at FIFA, from pitch-side at their home stadium.

The panel then alluded to the fact that the numbers behind eSports are just the beginning and the possibilities are endless. Miles also said that Football Manager will include an eSports mode in the next few years.

To wrap things up, Kenny asked where they see eSports and gaming in the next five years and what we can expect for the industry.

The full audio of the panel can be found below: