OB Odense revealed a brand new signing in Lasse Bækkelund today. He’s been given the number 44, but he’ll never play a second of football for the team, at least not in the traditional sense.
That’s because Bækkelund is not a footballer. He’s an elite gamer.
In a bid to improve its brand, the Funen-based club has become the first Danish football team to sign a contract with a computer gamer and in doing so it joins the ranks of a growing number of visionaries trying to reap the benefits of the popularity of e-sport.
“There is no doubt that e-sport is on the rise big time and we want to contribute to Odense playing a considerable role as a powerhouse within Danish e-sports,” said Jack Jørgensen, the commercial head of OB.
“As a football club, we at OB take great pride in helping promote football and sport in Funen in general. We see some good opportunities for traditional football and e-sport to compliment each other, so we are excited about co-operating with Lasse Bækkelund.”
Top of FIFA pops
Bækkelund’s deal with OB means that he will represent the football team during all e-sport events he takes part in until the summer of 2017.
The 21-year-old gamer is currently ranked in the top four in Denmark in the football computer game FIFA.
“I’m really looking forward to becoming part of OB,” said Bækkelund. “It’s not just fantastic news for me, but for Danish e-sport in general, which has a ways to go to attain the stamp of approval that the sport deserves.”