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With coronavirus Covid-19 causing the suspension of almost all activities at the club, and world sport in general, there is one area that is going to be largely unaffected by the virus: e-sports.
Barça has teams competing at efootballPES 2020, using Konami’s famous soccer simulation, and in the Rocket League, a game that combines football and cars. And they will be continuing to compete, for as long as the professional teams have sufficiently powerful hardware and internet connections, games can be played online.
The efootballPES 2020 championship is usually played face-to-face, but players are quite used to competing online from their homes or high-performance centres offered by their clubs. And so the Barça Rocket League team, who play this Sunday in the RLCS against AS Monaco, will be able to fulfil their three-on-three fixture by playing remotely.
The games will be broadcast as usual on Twitch and YouTube for five hours, shows that typically generate audiences of 70.000 spectators and can peak at 100,000.
The new eSports division is a program launched with the intention of building a leading section that will help take the brand to countries like the US and China, connect with new audiences, especially in emerging football markets, and create a new source of revenue for the club. However, this project stays true to our values and will only include non-violent games that are consistent with the brand and everything we represent, including upholding gender equality and major commitment to educating and training people and players. We also aspire to participating in the world’s best international competitions with world-class players and will create digital channels to connect with our new audiences.
FC Barcelona currently has two eSports teams: one competing in eFootballPES 2020 and one in the Rocket League. In the case of the Konami football simulator, the club competes in eFootballPro alongside teams like Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Arsenal. In the Rocket League, Barça is competing in the biggest European competition, the Rocket League Championship Series, for the third consecutive season and qualified for the World Cup in June of last year, played in New Jersey before more than 15,000 spectators.
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