Telefónica has teamed up with online gaming company ESL to develop a platform, exclusive content and a professional electronic sports club as it bids to target millennials.
The operator’s Spanish opco Movistar will be the vehicle for the strategic agreement with ESL, which runs eSports leagues, events and its own TV channel.
Telefónica said it wanted to become one of the “main protagonists” of eSports in Spain, having provided connectivity to a number of events in the space over the last few years.
Along with ESL, the two companies promised to promote competitions in Spain and develop “activities and programs” for all levels of competition.
Movistar will create a digital platform on which fans can watch content, purchase games and participate in competitions.
It will incorporate eSports content into its existing sports offering via the Movistar eSports, Movistar Deportes 1 and Movistar Stadium channels.
It will also get branding at ESL gaming shows as well as providing fibre connectivity.
The operator cited figures to show that eSports have 293 million fans currently, a number that is set to increase to 490 million over the next three years.
It has also created Movistar Riders, an eSports club made up of various professional video game teams.
The operator promised to provide technical support and physical training at a physical headquarters, the Movistar Gaming Center.
Luis Miguel Gilpérez, President of Telefónica Spain said: “This will create an electronic gaming ecosystem in the country which, in addition to the very best telecommunications networks, will position Telefónica and its Movistar brand at the epicentre of this mass phenomenon that young people are joining with unbridled enthusiasm.
“We want to do our part for eSports, which we believe is the sport of the 21st century.”
He added: “Movistar will provide eSports with the very best fibre connectivity, a key aspect for an optimal gaming experience.
“The agreement with ESL will enable us to follow new eSport talents, who we hope to help achieve their dreams, just as we have done up to now with our commitment to other sports”.
ESL, which claims to be the world’s largest eSports company, is owned by Sweden-based digital entertainment company MTG and its founder Turtle Entertainment.
Manuel Moreno, Managing Director of ESL in Spain, said: “This agreement is a monumental step forward for eSports in our country.
“Both companies are world leaders in our respective industries and there is no doubt that this partnership will reinforce Spain’s position on the international stage.”