RSC Anderlecht announce intention to sign FIFA player

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports

Belgian soccer organization Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht are looking to break into FIFA esports, and they plan to hold a tournament that will help them choose their player.

The announcement on the team's website explains that they will hold a competition near the end of April that will determine the players who will compete at the main tournament, to be held at the annual RSCA fan day.

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Fnatic partners with AS Roma to manage club's new FIFA esports team

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Tony O'Brien / Action Images

Italian soccer club Associazione Sportiva Roma have made their entry to esports with a newly announced FIFA esports team and have partnered with Fnatic to launch the venture. Both the soccer club and Fnatic announced the news on their respective websites Tuesday.

The FIFA roster includes Aman “Aman” Seddiqi, Sam “Poacher” Carmody and Nicoló “Insa” Mirra while Colin Johnson will act as the team's manager.

The partnership will see Fnatic "manage the team and offer support for training, events and provide all esports-related logistical knowledge to nurture them," according to Fnatic's release. AS Roma wrote that the partnership will "give the club the best chance of success in the eSports arena."

Founded in 1927, AS Roma play in the Italian league Serie A, which represents the highest competitive level of Italian soccer. Team president Jim Pallotta said in the team's release that the continued growth in esports was a factor in their decision to form the team and enter the sector.

“With the tremendous growth of eSports and continued attention placed on games like FIFA, we’ve partnered with Fnatic, the world’s leading eSports organisation, to launch our eSports team," he said. "This joint venture will enable us to start building a strong legacy in eSports and engage our fans in exciting new ways.”

Aman, who hails from Atlanta, said that the signing was a big moment in his esports career.

“Roma is a huge team to represent,” said Aman. “It makes me proud to wear the shirt, and it's an honour to be the first American to be signed by a European club. It's incredibly humbling, and I can't wait to bring more trophies to Roma. I'm here to win.”

The announcement continues two trends. European soccer clubs have overtly shown interest in esports for over a year, and while some have entered more traditional esports titles — like FC Schalke's entry to League of Legends — many have chosen to enter the scene first with FIFA players.

However, the arrangement with Fnatic marks a more recent phenomenon: traditional sports franchises from all leagues have increasingly sought to enter esports with experts already on hand, to avoid potential pitfalls.

For example, when the Philadelphia 76ers purchased Team Dignitas and Apex, they kept the leadership to continue to run the newly-merged Dignitas. The Houston Rockets added Sebastian Park, formerly of Team Archon, to their front office as director of esports development, with the sole purpose of planning out the team's approach to esports.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

Battlerite announces first official tournament

blog.battlerite.com

Stunlock Studios and Twitch have announced a $10,000 Battlerite tournament that will be presented by Beyond the Summit. Qualifiers will begin on Feb. 18, with the North American and European Finals broadcast live on Feb. 25-26.

Click here for the full article via blog.battlerite.com

FACEIT to host SMITE Pro League Combine

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NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software to launch NBA 2K eLeague

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The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software are partnering to launch an esports league focused around the NBA 2K series.

"We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release. “We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience."

The league, set to debut in 2018, will consist of 30 teams operated by each NBA franchise, with each team composed of five players each. Players will not compete with avatars of real NBA players, instead creating their own avatars to compete. Teams will compete in a regular season, followed up by bracketed playoffs and a championship match.

"We are proud to expand our strong relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague," Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two, said in a statement. "Through the NBA 2K series, which is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans, we have a proven track record of highly successful collaboration. With this new venture, Take-Two and the NBA aim to fuel the accelerating growth of eSports and take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights."

In the past, individual NBA owners have slowly invested into esports in the past two years. Notably, the Philadelphia 76ers purchased Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming last September, while the Miami Heat purchased a stake in Misfits in January.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

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