Two stories from the world of eSports as Valencia FC become the latest European football team to enter the world of eSports with the signing of four Hearthstone players, and Capcom hand out a ban to a pro video gamer on sexual harassment charges.
Spanish La Liga side Valencia has become the latest European football team to move into the eSports scene after nabbing four Hearthstone players from Samsung Gaming eSports.
TheFallen, Evangelion, Thalai and NaRA will represent Valencia at the Gamergy eSports and Gaming Festival held in Madrid over the weekend of 24, 25 & 26 June. Valencia has also signed a deal to partner with the online broadcasting giant Twitch.
Valencia’s marketing director, Peter Draper, brokered a deal he calls an ‘interesting project’ and a ‘challenge’. He also called eSports a sport that was ‘causing the most interest throughout Europe.’
He may be right.
Bundesliga’s Wolfsburg was the first premier European football side to enter the realm of eSports when they signed professional FIFA players Benedict “Salz0r” Salzer and Daniel “Dani” Fink to represent them in events like the FIFA Interactive World Cup back in May 2015. Earlier this year they added the UK’s David Bytheway to their roster of players.
Then a few months ago, Premier League side West Ham signed 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup Final runner-up Sean ‘Dragonn’ Allen to compete in FIFA competitions and immediately handed him the #50 squad number.
Valencia, who do have plans to hire players to compete in FIFA competitions in the future, aren’t the only football side to create an eSports team to play in non-football eSports. Last month, Bundesliga outfit FC Schalke acquired the League of Legends (LOL) side Elements.
Hearthstone developers Blizzard Entertainment believe over 50 million people are playing their strategy card game online. It’s the fifth most popular betting title trailing behind LOL, DOTA2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and StarCraft II.
Valencia suffered a disastrous season that saw them finish 12th in La Liga. Former Manchester United legend, Gary Neville, was hired to apply some cement to the cracks but was sacked after only winning 9 of this 27 games in charge. Neville will be on the England coaching team for their Euro 2016 campaign.
Draper wants to see 10 million spectators watching the Valencia eSports team throughout 2016, rising to 20 million by 2019.
Pro Gamer Banned by Capcom For Sexual Harassment
Japanese game developer Capcom has banned a professional video gamer from competing in the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a female competitor during the Capcom Pro Tour ranking event: Combo Breaker 2016.
Noel Brown was caught on camera (the dude in the white shirt in the GIF) pinching the buttocks of a female as a crowd was in the process of leaving the arena.
Capcom has confirmed that the ban will be for life if he is ever found guilty of further misconduct of this nature. Combo Breaker organisers supported Capcom’s move by also banning him from their 2017 event, and will re-evaluate the situation ahead of their 2018 festival.
It’s not the first time Brown has been in the headlines for putting his unwelcome hands on a lady. Three years ago he was charged with ‘domestic violence battery’ after allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend and a fellow pro gamer, after finding the pair in an ‘intimate’ situation in a hotel suite he was sharing with her at the time.