Schalke 04’s entry into esports endeavours wasn’t the best to say the least. Ironically I predicted that Schalke would most likely end up in a relegation battle, and join the Challenger Series at worst. As we all know, I ended up being right about that one. So it’s only natural that people fear another huge Sports club joining the esports scene ending up failing. But alas, In the same way that I predicted Schalke 04’s unfortunate downfall, despite them admittedly doing well in Fifa, I hereby predict that Paris-Saint-Germain will have a huge impact on the world of esports. A positive one that is.
Paris-Saint-Germain’s entry into the League of Legends scene, at least on paper, seems well thought-out: Rather than buying a very expensive spot in the highest League and risking losing it within the first season, like their football rivals Schalke, they instead decided to buy up Team Huma, who were in the EU Challenger Scene. Only considering numbers, PSG paid $70,000 for their spot, whereas Schalke 04 presumably paid upwards of $1,000,000. Granted, this discrepancy seems irrelevant when looking at what PSG’s football team spends on new players (Depending on the season, more than $150,000,000), but within esports the difference is pretty huge. The money can be used for new players, coaching staff or facilities that PSG might need.
Additionally, time can be a very important factor as well: This approach, of joining the Challenger Scene rather than the EU LCS directly, gives PSG and its members the time to adapt to the World of professional esports. It also gives players the time to adapt to a potential new coaching staff or new players joining the team, which can be a huge factor for success.
With teams like Splyce or Unicorns of Love, we’ve seen how important it can be that a team sticks together for a certain amount of time, and in the NA LCS Spring Split 2016, TSM showed that buying fantastic players and simply putting them in a squad doesn’t always work out as good as you might think. Time is a luxury within the world of sports, and the more time you give your team to bond, the better your team will perform.
PSG also sets standards with their choice of staff: YellowStar is one of the most renowned esports personalities in history, few players overcome him in terms of abilities, game knowledge and leadership. Despite the fact that his last season wasn’t a successful one, not being able to perform whilst at TSM and failing to qualify for Worlds after rejoining Fnatic, he has shown time and time again that was one of the biggest factors of Fnatic’s success.
Before the legendary 18-0 season, it was YellowStar who, in cooperation with the organisation, formed the new Fnatic roster and held it together like superglue. Now that YellowStar faces a new task of bulding a roster largely from scratch. I’m dead certain he will be able to exceed expectations.
Additionally, not only does history prove YellowStar’s competence in terms of leadership and team building, he himself has already shown that he learned from past experiences: In his AMA he stated that he intends to bring in two Korean players that should “lead” the younger, talented EU players into transitioning to full fletched professionals. Not only do these talents get the time needed to adapt themselves to a professional schedule, but with Korean players on their side, they’ll always have competent teammates to look for that won’t fall into the stale European meta. YellowStar himself of course has the best experience with bringing in Korean players, as Reignover and Huni were a huge factor in Fnatics dominance in the 2015 seasons. Korean players might not result in immidiate success, and sometimes they even fail, but in general all Western regions have had good experiences with importing players from the most dominant of all regions.
For those that aren’t familiar with the football club, Paris-Saint-Germain is known for two things: Having a thing for Brazilians and having massive amounts of money at their disposal. Now I don’t know whether PSG plan on signing Revolta anytime soon, but the latter definitely applies to their esports division as well. Despite rumors of PSG having a budget of $20 million, they definitely do have a budged of several millions at their disposal. Given that they don’t have to spend a good portion of that on a LCS-Spot, that’s already a huge plus. In esports terms, the salaries PSG should be able to offer, should be around the top 5 within the LCS, not even Challenger Scene. At the moment, this is speculation of course, but based on reports and YellowStar’s recent AMA nonetheless. The fact that an organization intends to challenge the EU LCS’s norms in terms of salaries, is great news for the region as a whole: Europe is consistently losing talented players to North America, not because the weather is nicer over there, but due to much higher salaries – PSG might change this sooner rather than later. More competition in the market usually results in better salaries for the players.
Lastly, let’s talk a bit of Fifa: With Agge Rosenmeier and Lucas “DaXe” Cuillerier, PSG have signed two massively talented players, one of which already has two World Cup titles under his belt. As of the writing of this article, DaXe has already managed to grab his first World Cup title. Like in League of Legends, PSG doesn’t seem to fondle around, but is right on track for big things to come.
With every step along the line, Paris Saint-Germain shows that they’ve done their homework and did it well: Joining the Challenger Scene and working yourself up the League rather than trying to buy yourself into the top league, convincing one of the biggest veterans within esports to become your Head of Esports and generally showing that they greatly care about combining the world of football with esports. All of this shows that PSG means business.
Bonjour PSG. Bienvenue dans le monde de esports. Bon séjour.