Team Liquid have today announced that they are entering FIFA, with Lasse “Kongen” Bækkelund joining the organisation.
Kongen becomes Liquid’s first FIFA professional, and his addition means that the team now competes in a grand total of eleven esports titles. These are FIFA, League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO, StarCraft 2, Halo, Street Fighter, Heroes of the Storm and Super Smash Bros.
Danish 21 year old Bækkelund, formerly of OB Odense, will henceforth represent Team Liquid at all FIFA tournaments and events. Bækkelund is the only seeded player in Group A in the Playstation 4 bracket at the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) European Regional Finals which will take place on June 9th. So on only his first full day in his role as a Liquid player post-announcement, Bækkelund will compete to qualify for one of 32 available spots at The Grand Final of the FIWC.
The FIWC will take place in London in August 2017 and has a prize-pool of over $250,000, making for a significant increase from the competition last year.
Lasse Bækkelund stated: “It’s an amazing feeling to be the first FIFA player to compete for Team Liquid, particularly at such an exciting time as I head into the FIWC Europe Regional Final. Joining Team Liquid will give me new opportunities, plus knowledge and support to help me grow and improve as a player. I can’t wait to compete for a team that has a storied history in esports, and hope to add the first ever FIFA trophy to Team Liquid’s list of achievements!”
You can watch the video announcement here:
Victor Goossens, Co-CEO, Team Liquid, said of the new signing: “Lasse is a fantastic talent, with incredible work ethic and I’m looking forward to him competing as a Team Liquid player at FIWC.
“The competitive FIFA landscape, until now, has been dominated by players backed by traditional soccer teams. We’re one of the first global esports franchises to enter this arena. I’m excited by the opportunity FIFA and the FIWC presents to engage both traditional soccer and esport communities and can’t wait to see Team Liquid make its mark in the space”.
Bækkelund will be based in Denmark and work with managers, coaches and analysts from Team Liquid’s dual-HQ in the USA and The Netherlands. As a Team Liquid player, he will stream under the Team Liquid banner and also work with a range of the team’s sponsors such as Alienware, HyperX, Jinx, Monster Energy, Twitch and HTC.
Whilst Goosens and Steve Arhancet continue to run the organisation, the controlling stake in Team Liquid has been held by aXiomatic Group since September 2016. This group is led by Ted Leonsis, Peter Gruber, and Jeff Vinik. All three have a professional sporting background to some degree, which makes this move into a sports sim title far less surprising. This is especially the case given that Gruber is a Co-Owner of MLS side Los Angeles FC, and that Vinik is a Tampa Bay Lightning Owner and former board member at Liverpool FC.
Esports Insider says: A massive announcement then for Bækkelund right before the FIWC qualifiers. This’ll heap the pressure on the Dane but doubtless he’s been preparing and known about this for some time. Is it at all significant that former Liverpool FC board member Vinik is announced as a a key member of aXiomatic and Liquid on the same day the team announce their first foray into esports? And that Bækkelund stated Liverpool are his favourite team. Who’s to say…