A hot potato: Not everyone welcomes the rise of eSports. Some Swiss soccer fans showed their distaste toward gaming competitions by throwing tennis balls and console controllers onto a pitch yesterday, holding up one of the country’s Super League matches for several minutes.
Young Boys Bern's hardcore supporters, known as the “Ultras,” hurled the objects onto the Stade de Suisse field 15 minutes into a home game against Basel. The referee was forced to stop the match for two minutes while the pitch was cleared.
Both sets of fans took part in the pre-planned protest, which included a giant banner showing a pause button appearing in the crowd. Another banner read “Scheiss E-Sports,” which roughly translates to “E-Sports are shit.”
The incident seems like a fairly extreme protest for what is a minor side investment for soccer clubs. While Basel does have an E-Sports team, Young Boys Bern has no affiliation with the industry—and it looks like fans want to keep things that way.
Young Boys, who are defending Swiss champions, weren’t distracted by the temporary stoppage. They went on to beat Basel 7 – 1.
With more European soccer clubs putting money into eSports and sponsoring teams, it appears some fans would prefer that cash be spent on improving their squads. Or perhaps they just really, really hate eSports with a burning passion.
Back in February, a list compiled by eSports commentator Paul 'Redeye' Chaloner stated there were 196 sports teams involved in the industry, over 150 of which were soccer clubs. Many organizations see it as a way of increasing their digital presence while attracting young fans, some of whom prefer digital sports to the real thing.