La Liga side recruits four Hearthstone pros with Samsung pedigrees
Four former Samsung eSport team members have been recruited by the Spanish La Liga football club Valencia and will be deployed for the club at the Gamergy eSports and Gaming Festival in Madrid later this month, complementing the club's recent involvement with the Twitch streaming channel.
The team will specialise in Hearthstone, an online game developed by Blizzard in which players assemble decks of cards that are used in head-to-head, turn-based battles. However, several eSports media reports have suggested Valencia also plans to form a team in the Rocket League – a football game played with high-powered cars – at a later date.
Identifying the players as Diego 'Evangelion' Fuentes, Hector 'TheFallen' Fuentes, Haneul 'NaRa' Lee and Jose Miguel 'Josemi' Pascual, Valencia's marketing chief Peter Draper said that eSports has generated significant interest in Europe
"This is a very interesting project and a challenge for Valencia CF to enter a sports sector with such a marked growth," he said in a statement on Valencia's website. "It puts Valencia CF in the vanguard of the sector that is causing interest throughout Europe."
Partnerships with eSports have been increasing among European football clubs; last month, Bundesliga side Schalke expanded into eSports by acquiring the League of Legends team Elements and their place in the European Championship Series; West Ham FC have signed Sean 'Dragonn' Allen, the runner-up at the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup, while Wolfsburg have two FIFA players in Benedikt 'Salz0r' Saltzer and David 'DaveBtw' Bytheway.
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