With the Christmas season upon us, one might expect that the gift that keeps on giving, the topic of traditional sports teams entering eSports, would trickle down. Alas, it’s not to be, not yet. News broke over the last day, that one more football club is seeking to gain a foothold in the eSports scene. FC Dynamo Kiev, the best football club in Ukraine, signed a FIFA player, Vitaliy “Labortryas” Mukha. It’s also been speculated that Dynamo might be interested in expanding to Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, two of the more popular eSports games in Ukraine.
Over the last several months, football clubs signing FIFA players became more or less the norm. Naturally, the union is perfect for both gamers and sports orgs. The new Dynamo Kiev player, Labortryas, seems like a great fit to start with. He is one of the best FIFA players in Ukraine, with an ESWC Ukraine title and three wins at the Kiev Open Cup under his belt. It would probably be hard to find someone better to lead the team’s voyage into the new environment, at least if you insist on limiting yourself to native players, which a club like Dynamo Kiev should definitely do.
Concerning the speculation that FC Dynamo Kiev might be interested in fielding Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams… it’s actually quite credible. Think about it—what comes to mind when you think of Ukraine in terms of eSports? Natus Vincere. Which games does Na’Vi compete in? CS:GO and Dota 2. While the situation in Ukraine is similar to the one found in Poland, where Virtus.pro is the only world-class team from the country, if Dynamo Kiev was prepared to be patient and give local talent the opportunity to grow, there might be another world-class CS:GO or Dota 2 team in Ukraine in the future, this time playing under the banner of Dynamo.
Is it likely that FC Dynamo Kiev will challenge the FIFA scene on the worldwide level? Probably not. How about CS:GO and Dota2? Probably not. At least not for a while. Still, dabbling in eSports makes sense for the club. After all, eSports is one of the rare ways to reach the young adult male. There’s a reason why more and more sports team are entering eSports. While FC Dynamo Kiev is nowhere close to being the first, it’s also nowhere close to being the last.