FC Barcelona Gets Involved in the Esports Industry

FC Barcelona has confirmed a strategic esports alliance with Tencent, including professional gaming tournaments, curriculum, and exchange in the industry.

As part of the partnership, Barcelona will engage in “deep communication” with Tencent in order to boost its position in esports, whose currency is only participating in titles related to football, including Rocket League and PES.

Barcelona has expressed its plan to expand its esports business during the last 12 months, with the professional gaming market estimated to produce sales this year of over $1 billion.

Speaking to Palco23 in February, Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of Barcelona, reiterated that the club is involved in the esports market, but that the club would not engage in games that are deemed too brutal.

The Catalan club is aiming to establish a deal with a Chinese esports team that already has a powerful current land, according to the Spanish newspaper, in order to join the business with a strong base behind it.

Tencent is now co-owned by TJ Sports, the promoter of the Chinese League of Legends Professional Competition (LPL), with all indicators pointing to the football team seeking to invest in one of the country’s largest titles.

According to Palco23, FC Barcelona also aims to increase its involvement and sales by spending more than EUR 300 million over the next five years in a new plan and in esports. The plan will require the introduction of Barca TV, a digital multimedia channel that would provide its sports and gaming departments with exclusive content. FC Barcelona also aims to invest in more sports teams that will play in the Riot Games-created League of Legends since the company is tightly connected to the event.

Tencent and FC Barcelona

Tencent, the world's biggest video game company, controls 100% of League of Legends creator Riot Games, 84.3% of Clash Royale creator Supercell, 40% of Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite; 11.5% of Bluehole, PUBG developer; 5% of Rainbow Six Siege developer Ubisoft, and 5% of Activision Blizzard, developer of Call of Duty and Overwatch.

The contract with FC Barcelona would be linked to Tencent's second large soccer team. Currently, the company is partners with Manchester City. According to industry analyst Newzoo, amid the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global esports market is nevertheless projected to produce sales of $1.05 billion this year.

FC Barcelona announced earlier today that Messi had informed the club that he wanted to leave immediately. The news arrives just two weeks after the Champions League's crushing 8-2 loss by Bayern Munich. Messi will only depart without the club's approval under the conditions of his deal, which ends in 2021 if any team pays his termination fee of $828 million.

The terms of FC Barcelona and Tencent Games’ partnership are yet to be announced, though the deal may be used to improve Barcelona’s current assets. This is also not Tencent's first collaboration with a European football team, since Manchester City had established a partnership with the Chinese company last year.


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