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Esports elite facilities

Conor Walsh  December 8, 2017 2:14 PM

Essendon's eSports athletes will join all other teams at The Hangar.

Essendon's eSports athletes will join all other teams at The Hangar.

Essendon Football Club’s esports team will be given the same opportunities as all Bombers at The Hangar.

Chief Marketing Officer Justin Rodski said the new team will use all facilities and resources available at the club.

“We certainly looked at how best to integrate the team into our football club,” Rodski said on SEN Breakfast on Friday morning.

“They’ll be able to access our facilities, our dietician and our high-performance program to enable them to be like any other athlete competing in any other sports club or sports tournament in the world.

“They need to be able to go out and do exercise in the morning, they need to do mental preparation and whatever else they can do to ensure that they’re able to perform at their peak when they’re competing on the weekend.

“They want to be the best they can be and we want to provide them with that opportunity.”

Club captain Dyson Heppell admitted he is “one of the worst gamers you’ll see”, but said he was excited for the team to join the club. 

“I’d rather be out kicking the footy than playing games to be honest, but I think it’s fantastic having that on board,” Heppell said. 

“We’ll embrace those guys and have them as part of our club as well, which is awesome.”

Rodski said he understands that it is a “new frontier” for the club, but said it is a great opportunity for the Bombers to join the likes of the New York Yankees in acquiring an esports team.

“The AFL is about to invest pretty seriously in esports in Australia and Etihad Stadium is going to become the hub of esports in Australia.”

“This is an opportunity for brands to reach younger fans.”

Senior coach John Worsfold agreed that the venture would help the team engage with more fans.

“It’s a real growth area for sporting industries and we’re really excited about it,” Worsfold said.

“All the work we’ve done shows that it’s going to be big part of the Essendon Football Club.”

The team will play League of Legends in the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) and Oceanic Challenger League next year with an international audience of nearly 300 million people.

League of Legends is a fantasy battle game between teams of five, and if the Bombers win the OPL they will have the chance to compete at the world championships in front of nearly 100,000 fans.

“We’ve currently got four players ahead of next and we’re looking at an international player to bring across for next season,” Rodski said.