How does a League Two club build a worldwide audience? Invest in their own esports player

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What does an esports player do? Manchester City’s Kez Brown explains

How does a League Two club build a worldwide audience? Invest in their own esports player.

Higher-profile clubs in more established leagues across the world are already employing console whizzes to represent them at esports game Fifa.

Football’s world governing body, alongside game developers EA Sports, even announced plans this week to host a revised eClub World Cup in May.

But Manchester City and West Ham are the only English clubs who employ esports players on a full-time basis.

“If a team in League One or League Two get a Fifa player they can attract a worldwide audience almost instantly, one they would never be able to attract before,” esports commentator Richard Buckley tells BBC Sport.

Buckley and Brandon Smith have quickly become one of the most popular commentary duos on the Fifa scene, but the so-called “Ant and Dec” of virtual football say English clubs are “lagging behind” their global counterparts when it comes to conquering the esports market.

“In Germany, every single big football club apart from Bayern and Dortmund have got Fifa players – ‘esporters’ as they call them out there,” says Smith, who is working alongside Buckley at the FUT Champions Cup in Manchester this weekend.

“They understand the potential this has.”

Putting your club on the esports map

The average attendance in League Two this season is fewer than 5,000 people, but at the last FUT Champions Cup event in Barcelona in January – part of Fifa’s Global Series