Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04, co-owner of Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and several others. That’s how many traditional sports clubs have jumped into eSports, trying to reach the unreachable demographic of 18-35 males who don’t watch TV. Well, their ranks are about to be joined by one more sports giant, Panathinaikos AC.
According to the official announcement translated into English by IGN Greece, “Panathinaikos AC, performs a groundbreaking move that is expected to give the Association substantial benefits and, through this innovation, we turn to Greek players who have already achieved something outside of Greece. We now want to give them extra motivation and organizational framework regarding their involvement with eSports. Competition in the digital environment and the combination of speed, accuracy, strategic thinking, team spirit, etc. is proving to be extremely attractive and is chosen as a form of entertainment (spectators) and for some, as a career (players). Panathinaikos AC like other top clubs worldwide, wants to pursue this dream, always following development and progress.”
It’s implied in the same announcement, that Panathinaikos AC is “going to work with teams and players from different popular games such as League of Legends, Starcraft, Dota2, Counter-Strike, FIFA and NBA2K.” It’s been speculated, that the newest Greek eSports team is going to focus on signing Greek players to boost the domestic scene first, before trying to go for big wins on the international stage.
Also, the official announcement hinted at the structure and partner of the new Panathinaikos eSports division: “Our Club is implementing this new project in cooperation with the eSports company Cowboy TV, while the heads of the department will be Mr. Andreas Derdemezis Ilias Apostolopoulos and Michael Viliotis.”
From our belltower, it seems that Panathinaikos might actually be trying to take on way too much. If they indeed to go off and try to get involved in several games at the same time right off the bat, without taking time to sniff out the scene and get some experience, they will more than likely won’t be met with success. With an organization of Panathinaikos AC’s calibre, this could be taken in one of two ways. They will either pull out to avoid having their name associated with failure or double down on their investment and overcome the initial difficulties to achieve success. The best thing they could do is follow the example of Paris Saint-Germain, which hired Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim to lead the org in its first steps in the eSports scene. Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou is without a job, just sayin’.