Austria and Leicester City left-back Christian Fuchs is set to become the first ever Premier League soccer player to launch his own esports team, according to UK newspaper the Daily Mail.
Fuchs, 32 and a Premier League winner, will have a squad of professional Fifa players represent him at tournaments around the world, and is also looking to expand into other gaming titles outside of the popular soccer series.
Esports is becoming an increasingly attractive market for soccer leagues and clubs, with the competitive gaming industry estimated to have generated close to UK£650 million (US$872 million) in revenue this year alone.
As it stands, Manchester City and West Ham United are the only Premier League sides that have signed their own esports players, while the current English champions also launched a Fifa Online team in China earlier this week.
Arsenal, Crystal Palace and recently relegated Swansea have all been linked to esports through their American owners. The Gunners’ Stan Kroenke is the co-owner of an Overwatch League team, while Palace majority stakeholders Josh Harris and David Blitzer also own British esports outfit Team Dignitas. The Swans’ Steve Kaplan, meanwhile, is a majority shareholder in gaming organisation Immortals.
All three clubs were recently reported to be in negotiations with American video game developer Riot Games over buying a League of Legends team, which is said to cost around UK£10 million (US$13 million).