eSports are finally getting the recognition they deserve and they are expected to be considered for the Olympics in a not so distant future. Meanwhile, major European, North American and international clubs are creating their own eSports divisions. The Australian Football League is the latest to encourage its member teams to create or sponsor eSports squads.
Video games have gained a lot of traction among Australian players and the number of people playing them at competitive level is also on the rise. If AFL clubs set up their own eSports teams, the fans will be able to see some spectacular matches on one of the biggest arenas in the country. The Etihad Stadium in Melbourne will be used as the main venue for eSports events. It can accommodate 53,000 fans for AFL matches, but the number goes to up to 77,000 for other occasions.
The AFL is not only the wealthiest sports body in the country, but also one willing to innovate and quick to embrace change. In 2017 it introduced the female national league and eSports seems to be the logical step going forward. This move will target the millennial audience and should help the AFL improve brand consumption, increase revenue and sponsorship.
Australian players are already active online and the best teams compete in Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter Strike Global Offensive events. The AFL simply tries to tap into the immense potential of eSports, while improving its numbers with millennial. For the time being, the most popular sport nationwide is Australian rules football, but this could change.