Aussie AFL wants in on esports

Date: 4th May, 17

Following in the footsteps of the NBA in North America, the Australian Football League are planning on entering the esports industry and urging member teams to start teams of their own or looking sponsoring them, like the NBA.

What the AFL are offering is the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne which currently acts as the HQ for the AFL. The Etihad has a capacity of 53,000 for AFL Games and can fit as much as 77,000 for other events like Music concerts which have taken place in the past.

The idea for bringing in esports to the AFL follows the same idea most companies have had with regard to the industry - millenials. The AFL wants to target the younger generations and gain interest in the AFL and their clubs, which is why they’re urging members to bring on an esports team or partner with one.

The AFL’s statement came from Darren Birch, who’s the growth, digital and audience general manager:

“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.”

“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.”

Esports in Australia is closely compared to South Africa in terms of the isolation. The joining of esports and the AFL is massive leap forward for the Aussies as the AFL is the largest sport in Australia, a country where they’re best known for the cricket and rugby.

By Kyle Wolmarans