Here's an odd one: Aston Villa, the once great English football club now struggling to get out of the Championship, has launched an esports league.
The appropriately-named AVFC Gaming starts in June with a series of FIFA 18 tournaments that may or may not cheer up Villa fans still mourning the Championship playoff final defeat to Fulham that saw Chelsea legend John Terry exit the club.
Aston Villa said AVFC Gaming, which is working with the European Gaming League, will encourage gamers to compete against each other to win Pro Points, which in turn score exclusive prizes including match tickets, signed photos, signed FIFA player cards and AVFC Gaming branded consoles.
Here's a quote from Will Radford, head of digital media and content at Aston Villa, who points out esports are becoming increasingly popular:
"We know that being a Villa fan goes way beyond match day, our fans live and breathe the club in all aspects of their lives.
"The launch of AVFC Gaming is all about embracing the fans doing what they love. We want to be able to reward the Villa faithful in their social lives and our partnership with the European Gaming League allows to do this in a way no other club has. Esports are becoming increasingly popular, with competitive leagues all around the world developing a huge amount of talent. AVFC Gaming will be another example of this, as well as being a great way for fans and the club to interact away from Villa Park.
"The launch of our own esports series is testament to the club's desire of becoming an innovative leader in the business of sport. This initial series will act as a springboard to launch further digital gaming experiences to entertain and engage all our fans over the coming months."
So there you have it. If you're mad into Aston Villa and you're good at FIFA, this might be for you.
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