PSG signs FIFA 17 superstars in bumper eSports project

The French footballing giant has a competitive virtual football team and will be building a League of Legends one too

Paris Saint-Germain has signed three high-profile eSports superstars as they charge head-on into the competitive online gaming world.

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The French club held a Twitch stream on Thursday to unveil PSG eSports and tweeted out the signing of two-time FIFA world champion August 'Agge' Rosenmeier and “future of FIFA” Lucas 'Daxe' Cuillerier.

But, while Premier League teams such as Manchester City and West Ham opted only to dip their toes in the eSports water with a gimmicky FIFA eSports signing, PSG has followed in Schalke's footsteps by expanding beyond football.

As well as signing two FIFA eSports stars, PSG has signed a Head of eSports in former League of Legends star player Bora Kim, aka YellOwStaR.

League of Legends, for the uninitiated, is a multiplayer online game in the fantasy battle mold with an enormous eSports following.

Organized teams are worth in the tens of millions, while events are broadcast to millions of fans around the world – online on platforms like Twitch and, increasingly, on TV.

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While competitive gaming on football games remains relatively niche, the enormous amount of money involved in League of Legends inevitably played a role in PSG's decision to wade in beyond FIFA.

YellOwStaR, who recently retired from competitive play having previously made a living playing League of Legends, has been tasked with building a PSG team from scratch and scouting for top talent in France and beyond.

"The main objective of 2017 will be to go to the LCS, the first League of Legends division," he said of his team, which will be based in Berlin.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi must be used to unveiling players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham to the press, but he was enthusiastic about pushing PSG's latest efforts to expand its sphere of influence.

"We've decided to invest in eSports and to enter our teams in two of the sector's most iconic games," he told reporters. "The decision forms part of the club's international development strategy.

"It also represents a new way for PSG to engage with its fans and to attract new ones in key development markets. eSports is a part of our future activity and our brand – PSG must win, there is no choice."

That desire to be the best will be tested as the club ventures into unknown territory. While PSG has dominated Ligue 1 in recent years, it will be keen to avoid the fate of Schalke.

The Bundesliga giant was the first football club to invest in eSports beyond FIFA and suffered the ignominy of relegation from the League of Legends' top global division shortly afterwards.

PSG's FIFA players, Agge and Daxe, will get their first chance to represent their new team at Paris Games Week at the end of October.