English top-flight soccer side West Ham United have signed a two-year partnership with esports agency Bundled as the club bid to grow their presence in the competitive gaming sector.
The Premier League team were the first soccer club in the UK to sign a professional gamer after employing Sean ‘Dragoon’ Allen in 2016 to compete in EA Sports’ FIFA tournaments. They also held their own competition for the soccer simulation at their London Stadium home in a collaboration with investment partner Basset & Gold, with the winner taking home UK£10,000 (US$12,600) last November.
Now the east London outfit are stepping up their esports efforts with Bundled. The agency provides various services in the industry, from organising gaming events, to creating innovative digital content, coaching and performance management of professional esports players. The company also represents the interests of more than 30 professional FIFA esports players.
As part of the agreement, West Ham unveiled two new FIFA players; ‘Yago’ Gabriel Fernandez and ‘Jas’ Singh. Both will join current Hammers player Jamie ‘Jamboo’ Rigden for the 2019/20 FIFA season.
Karim Virani, West Ham's digital and commercial director, said: “The club has always been proactive and one of the pioneers in the esports arena, and this partnership is another step on our journey.
"Bundled is a forward-thinking, dynamic company who are passionate about the esports space, and will help us to continue to grow and be one of the leading Premier League clubs going into this FIFA season and beyond.”
Melvyn Wolthers, managing director of Bundled, added: “West Ham is a very well-known club worldwide with a fantastic fanbase. To have been given this opportunity is very special. We are looking forward to two exciting years and to create some special moments with the club and its fans.”