Manchester City FC signs its first esports player

Premier League football club Manchester City has signed a new 18 year-old talent named Kieran “Kez” Brown, but he won't be out on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium with the rest of the team. He's actually the club's first esports player, and will represent City while playing in FIFA tournaments and fan events. 

“This is a natural evolution for Manchester City. We’ve been very involved with our partner, EA Sports, and the FIFA franchise for some time,” City Football Marketing SVP Diego Gigliani said. “When we set out to find an esports player, we decided we wanted someone who was a fantastic, young, talent, but also with a hunger and a desire to grow. We strongly believe we have found that in Kieran. He is full of potential. Not only is he a great player, but we also believe he will engage and interact brilliantly with our fans all around the world.”   

Gigliani said getting involved in esports will bring the team “closer to our fans,” and that it will have a bigger presence at esports events in the future. "We will have more content through our digital channels and we will activate even more with our fans at matches and Club events."

“It’s exciting; it’s something new for the Club and it’s something new for me,” Brown said. “I’m going to livestream on twitch, I’m going to be making videos for Manchester City’s YouTube channel and I’m going to be playing some City fans and representing City in future tournaments, which I’m looking forward to. This is an opportunity which not many people get the chance to do and I couldn’t turn it down.” 

As the BBC points out, Manchester City isn't actually the first club to sign an esports player. That honor goes to West Ham, which signed Sean “Dragonn” Allen in May.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.