Tennis embraces esports as the French Open announces a tournament at this year’s event
As we get closer to the Tennis’ summer grand slams, the French Open has announced plans to launch an esports competition in partnership with French bank and tournament sponsor BNP Paribas.
In addition to confirming an increased purse of $3.7 million for its 2018 tournament at Roland Garros, the organisers have also announced that the parallel esports competition will be played out on Tennis World Tour, a new video game expected to be released just five days before this year’s Open.
The French Open’s move into the esports world shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as we have seen many major sporting events and leagues announce esports competitions over the past few months.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) March 20, 2018
Tennis World Tour will be the first major video game for tennis fans since Top Spin 4, which was released back in 2011. Players will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of stars ranging from Roger Federer to Eugenie Bouchard.
The esports series will begin in April with events held all across Europe, Asia, and South America, with events taking place in France, UK, Italy, Germany, China, India and Brazil.
One major difference between this competition and other esports events that we have seen is that players will be playing the demo version of Tennis World Tour in what is an interesting strategy set forward by the French Open. As many video gamers know, the demo version of any game is not fully developed and could still have bugs to fix, but it will also serve to promote tennis simulations as part of the esports mainstream and perhaps encourage casual players to get involved in tennis games.
The final will be on the 25th of May at the French Open.
While this esports event may seem less attractive than FIFA or NBA 2K given the status of those games within popular culture, it shows yet another form of interest in the entire esports industry. It’s remarkable to see how fast competitions are growing across the globe. Sim sports are a market that seemed somewhat flat just two years ago, and is now becoming a major player in the sport business world.
Find out more about esports at our event tomorrow evening. Digital Sport London takes place at Pinsent Masons and you can either book your tickets below or find out further information here.
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