BOFCON 2016: Khaled Naim on football and esports

The founder of esports agency Stark Esports, Khaled Naim, spoke at #bofcon today on the subject of FIFA as a gateway between football and esports. KhaledNaimStarkEsports

Stark has a partnership with VFL Wolfsburg and further deals with a host of Bundesliga clubs including Bayern Munich are also on the cards. The terms of the Wolfsburg deal sees Stark aiding the side’s entrance into the huge and growing world of esports, and provided it with the club’s second official FIFA player, David ‘DaveBTW’ Bytheway.

In the second session at Stamford Bridge Naim introduced Betting on Football attendees to the potential of esports, how organisations within the two compare and what esports can learn from football.

He referenced Newzoo findings that the industry’s current value is $748m (£520.2m) and it’s predicted to increase to $1.1bn (£765.1m), and highlighted that betting and fantasy already represents over $55m of that figure.

On what esports can learn from football he pointed to “professionalism, infrastructure, regulations and the independent ownership of leagues.”

Fnatic is one of the largest esports organisations globally, operating teams in League of Legends, Dota 2, Battlefield and more. Last year it signed a partnership with Dafabet. Naim compared Fnatic to Wolfsburg in that the former boasts matchdays on almost every day of the year, whilst the latter can only account for between 40 to 60 depending on its success in various competitions. As such Naim was suggesting the huge potential of fan engagement year round within esports.

By way of a direct bridge to football Naim stated that there are curently over 6.3 million players on FIFA 16. With this in mind, and the fact that a number of professional footballers such as Mesut Ozil are well known for their love of the game, it’s no surprise that clubs are looking to use it as a communication tool.

Naim noted that a number of football clubs will look to move into this space in the coming year, with up to three Premier League clubs in the discussion stage, and further interest in La Liga and beyond. He also discussed how clubs have shown interest in forming their own esports brand beyond FIFA, and into the realms of Tier 1 esports titles such as Dota 2.

Major esports events typically sell out fast, and Naim ended his informative talk by highlighting this and indicating its potential as great way to expand for clubs to expand their engagement and reach new, younger fans.


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