The Australian Football League (“AFL”) has revealed in an interview with FairFax Media that it is likely to get involved in esports.
The league has expressed interest in running a tournament at the Etihad Stadium which it gained ownership of back in October and has encouraged AFL clubs to sponsor or create their own esports teams.
The interview with FairFax media doesn’t reveal anything concrete but implies that brands in Australia are starting to wake up to the idea of esports. With Intel Extreme Master: Sydney bringing top tier Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Australia for the first time, interest is likely to increase.
Darren Birch, the AFL’s growth, digital and audiences general manager told Fairfax Media in an interview: “Esports is very strong in the millennial area, so for us it is about diverse exposure to that audience. That’s no different to AFLW where we became more relevant to a female audience.
He continued: “whether that translates into football is somewhat relevant but also not totally relevant. We want AFL, through esports, to have the ability to generate a broader appeal for clubs and be able to bring more sponsors, revenue and consumption of your brand – whether that’s a live footy event or a live esports event.”
Notable esports names to emerge from Australia include Damien “kpii” Chok and Anathan “ana” Pham who both compete in Dota 2. Ana’s rise to the top has been quite remarkable and the youngster has notched two Major titles with Dota record-breakers OG. His team will undoubtedly be favourite heading into this summer’s The International which could house the biggest esports prize-pool ever. Additionally he sits atop the Dota 2 public leaderboards.
Esports Insider says: Hopefully the AFL aren’t just teasing and do get involved. I’m sure plenty of players have always wanted to go to Australia so the more competition taking place the better. The Etihad looks a fantastic venue should they host an event there.