FC Barcelona has announced a strategic esports partnership with Tencent which covers competitive gaming competitions, education and industry exchange.
As part of the collaboration, Barcelona will ‘engage in deep communication’ with Tencent regarding improving its esports presence, which currency is only active in football related titles Rocket League and PES.
Over the last 12 months Barcelona has expressed its intention to develop its esports division, with the competitive gaming industry expected to generate revenues of over $1 billion this year.
Speaking to Palco23 in February, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu emphasised that the club is interested in the esports sector, however, the club will not participate in games which are considered ‘too violent’.
The club’s esports collaboration with Tencent could give indication that Barcelona are looking to expand its range of titles past the sport-centric genre. The Chinese company owns Riot Games, the creator of popular esport League of Legends along with its new title Valorant. Moreover, Tencent has a 40 per cent stake in Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite.
According to the Spanish newspaper, the Catalan club is looking to secure a partnership with a Chinese esports team which already has a strong existing property in order to enter the industry with a good foundation behind it.
Tencent also co-owns TJ Sports, the organiser of China’s professional league of legends competition (LPL) with all signs pointing toward the football club looking to invest in one of the worlds biggest titles.
Nevertheless, the specifics of the partnership have yet to be revealed and so the deal could be used to strengthen Barcelona’s existing properties. This also isn’t Tencent’s first partnership with a European football club with Manchester City establishing a relationship with the Chinese firm last year.