Traditional Brazilian soccer club Cruzeiro Esporte Clube announced on Friday that it is coming back to the esports scene. The team has been absent from competitive gaming since March 23, when the former E-Flix (currently named Miners) terminated its brand licensing contract with Cruzeiro to close a new partnership with Netshoes.
Cruzeiro eSports will now field more than 30 athletes in Free Fire, EA Sports FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Valorant, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions. The club will have the esports department under its own administration, without relying on brand licensing contracts as it was with E-Flix or as the traditional soccer team Clube de Regatas Flamengo does with Simplicity Esports.
The project utilizes sports and esports specialized company F7WA Sports for consultancy, business model creation, and attraction of sponsors.
Because the soccer club has been facing grave financial problems since 2019, having debt of around $897M BRL (around $176M USD) registered in April 2021, Cruzeiro has created alternatives to make the esports initiative viable. Besides the sponsorship of esports entertainment and lifestyle brand KlashX, which is launching in Brazil, and a partnership deal with a still unrevealed streaming platform, the club will also rely on its fans to invest in the project by buying crypto tokens that will make their owners partners of Cruzeiro eSports and receive a share of generated profit.
This is not the only step Cruzeiro has taken into crypto. To raise funds for the club, it has partnered with Liqi Digital Assets to launch tokens for fans to invest in young players from the club’s soccer academy, offering back shares of the profit generated by their transfers over the next six years.
Cruzeiro will provide its esports teams with coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists, and nutritionists. The department will rely on structures in Belo Horizonte, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais where the club is originally from, and in São Paulo, where the majority of the main esports competitions in the country are held. Cruzeiro eSports is finishing the hire of its athletes and will start competing in the second semester of 2021.
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