West Ham United has become the first Premier League team to officially sign an esports player in the form of Fifa star Sean ‘Dragonn’ Allen.
Dragonn, who’s from Essex, was the runner up in the Fifa Interactive World Cup 2016 losing out in the final to Denmark’s Mohamad Al-Bacha.
Allen said of his deal: “This is a massive move forward for me. I have been playing competitive FIFA for a very long time and this is the biggest thing ever to happen to me.”
He’s been playing since 2008 competitively and will now represent the club and wear his own number 50 West Ham shirt when strutting his stuff at tournaments. Though he’s the first to be picked up by a UK club, Allen is not the first Brit to have been signed up for his Fifa skills worldwide, with David ‘DaveBTW’ Bytheway joining Wolfsburg last year. The general expectation is that many more top professional clubs will follow this emerging pattern and sign up esports players of their own.
West Ham’s sponsor Betway is one of the biggest bookmakers promoting esports markets, although so far Fifa has taken very much the backseat in gambling terms with Tier 1 esports such as League of Legends and CS:GO dominating the wagering.
Karim Virani, Head of Digital Marketing at West Ham United, said of the signing: “Esports is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, so we are delighted to have signed one of the world’s leading players to represent us.
“We’ve been looking to sign an e-sports player for a while and Sean’s performance in the FIFA Interactive World Cup really impressed us. Sean will spearhead our efforts to becoming a leader in this field.”
He added: “The digital game is incredibly popular with our fans, so we are really excited about what we have in store for them.”