Celtic Football Club have signed an e-sports team to compete in the Call of Duty World League (CWL) Championship.
It makes them the first UK football club to seriously invest outside of football title Fifa.
“This is a great opportunity in an e-sports area where we see almost no engagement from professional football clubs,” Celtic’s business manager said.
The competition, which got more than seven million Twitch views last year, has a prize of more than £1.6 million.
It starts at the UCLA Bruins basketball arena in LA on Wednesday and will take place over four days.
The team competing in the CWL Championship has five members: Sean “Seany” O’Connor, Shea “QwiKeR” Sweeney, Ben “Bance” Bance, Byron “Nastie” Plumridge and Sam “Chain” Dineley.
Both Seany and QwiKeR are from Glasgow and have been Celtic supporters their whole life – and are definitely excited to represent the green and white on the world stage.
“The fact that Seany and QwiKeR are Celtic fans through and through makes it even more exciting to us as we continue to see the crossover between the traditional and digital worlds,” business manager Miguel Pacheco said.
Only a good thing for Celtic
Steffan Powell, Radio 1 Newsbeat gaming reporter
We’ve seen famous British sports clubs get involved in e-sports before but not really like this.
Football clubs sponsoring Fifa players is one thing but, other than Paris Saint Germain, they haven’t really branched out much past that.
This experiment, if successful, is surely another step along the road of mainstream sports clubs starting to compete with more established e-sports franchises.
It’s a perfect fit for Celtic in terms of trying to broaden its e-sports presence.
British players have a good track record in competitive Call of Duty (CoD) – unlike other e-sports such as CS:GO or League of Legends where most of the professionals are from other countries.
The British squad that Celtic have signed up may be outsiders to win the World Championships but they have performed well against the world’s best in the past and are a good mix of talent and experience.
The CoD World Championships are always difficult to predict so you never know, they could spring a surprise.
Having a team of competitive British players wearing the famous green and white hoops on a world e-sports stage will only be a good thing in terms of raising Celtic’s profile in the e-sports world.
With Call of Duty is changing its model for competitive gaming next year as well, this could be an experiment that other mainstream sports clubs with e-sports ambitions are keeping a close eye on.
Jaden Ashman from London made headlines recently after winning nearly a million pounds when he came second alongside his teammate in the Fortnite World Cup finals.
The 15-year old split £1.8 million with his Dutch partner.
The eventual winner of that competition, Kyle Giersdorf, was “swatted” earlier this week – where someone makes a hoax report so the special weapons and tactics (Swat) police raid a target’s house while they’re streaming.
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