In a recent interview, the English Premiere League (EPL) shared some of their concerns and focus for the future of the organization. One of the main concerns mentioned was the threat of losing younger fans to digital gaming, social media, and competitive gaming, or eSports.
The English Premiere League is the world's most watched football (known as soccer in the US) league. It's estimated to broadcast to over 200 territories and to a TV audience numbered in the billions. These numbers are reflective of the fact that soccer is the world's most popular sport.
The interview featured Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore as he discussed the league's intent to address pressing issues. Scudamore focused on the fact that they want to maintain young fans and keep them interested with the sport. He then proceeded to note that their competitors isn't necessarily other sports. The threats are what youth spend their time with; social media, gaming, watching competitive gaming and etc.
The other topic that Scudamore wanted to address was to keep soccer relatable to young fans as well.
In response to the emergence of competitive gaming, EPL clubs have been proactive and signed their own official eSports players. Recently, West Ham United signed the world's number 2 FIFA player, Sean "Dragonn" Allen.
Although not part of their traditional model, having sponsored gamers does fall in line with being relate-able to fans -- They recognize that players are more accessible via social media and etc., moreso than any professional league player.
Considering that eSports is becoming more popular and gaining more income, only time will tell if the EPL's concerns will come to fruition.