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.