Movistar teams up with ESL to enter Spanish eSports market
Movistar, the Spanish mobile phone operator owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, today signed a strategic agreement with ESL, the eSports company owned by Sweden-based media company Modern Times Group, to launch an eSports team and sponsor events in Spain.
Under the deal, the Movistar brand is to have a presence at ESL’s eSports competition, video game conferences and events in Spain.
Movistar will also feature eSports content on its social media and digital channels and broadcast ESL tournaments on Movistar Plus, Telefónica’s pay-TV service, and on a new Movistar eSports television channel.
In addition, Movistar is to create Movistar Riders, a new professional eSports team which will be based at the Movistar Gaming Centre in Spain.
Luis Miguel Gilpérez, president of Telefónica, said: “This will create an electronic gaming ecosystem in the country which, in addition to the very best telecommunications networks, will position Telefónica and its Movistar brand at the epicentre of this mass phenomenon that young people are joining with unbridled enthusiasm. We want to do our part for eSports, which we believe is the “sport of the 21st century.”
In a further development today Telefónica confirmed that it is to become the exclusive telecommunications partner of cycling's Vuelta a España in a three-year deal.
The company already sponsors the Movistar cycling team in an agreement that was extended until 2019 last September.
Meanwhile, NBA basketball’s Miami Heat have acquired a stake in Europe-based eSports team Misfits.
The deal also involves a strategic partnership between the two parties, as Miami Heat will assist with the marketing, branding, promotion, retail, digital and sponsorship of Misfits.
Nick Arison, chief executive officer of Miami Heat, said: “The Miami Heat pride ourselves on being innovative in all aspects of sports and business. For us, it made perfect sense to partner with Misfits, a young and ambitious franchise in a sport that is blazing a trail in terms of 21st century recreational competition amongst Millennials.”
Miami’s investment becomes the latest basketball-related move in eSports.
Last week, Wesley Edens, the US businessman and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, unveiled a new eSports venture called FlyQuest, which includes a professional team.
Late last year, the Houston Rockets became the first team in the NBA to appoint a director of eSports development.
In September, fellow NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers purchased Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming, while Pete Guber, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, and his aXiomatic ownership group acquired a majority stake in Team Liquid.