Vfl Wolfsburg, one of the biggest football clubs in the German Bundesliga, has brought two EA Sports FIFA players on board to represent it on the field. They won't be making an appearance inside the Volkswagen Arena any time soon, though.
22-year-old David Bytheway, one of the two, signed with the German outfit last month and will wear the club's green and white colours at FIFA tournaments he participates in around the globe, such as the FIFA Interactive World Cup, and whenever he streams matches online. Bytheway, from Wolverhampton in England, has been hitting the buttons since he was 17, he told the BBC.
"It's absolutely massive for me the fact that a team like Wolfsburg have gotten involved with gaming," he said. His journey began like every other gamer, at home competing against his friends and pushing himself to be the best among them.
Unlike Wolfsburg's millionaire athletes, Bytheway doesn't put a lot of hours outside the tournaments. He puts it down to finding people of your own skill level and not giving away the tools of your trade. "You don't want to play too many people because then you give away your secrets. So you stick between one or two and then you have to wait for them to come online," he said.
Bytheway has played for various clubs inside FIFA, but he never thought he would ever work for an actual football team in real life. When asked what he brings to the club, he responded: "It's a new market for them."
"E-sports is growing so much every year with all the viewers it's generating. Wolfsburg can see the potential and so they want to be the first to do it," he added.
He reckoned that it may not be big news at the moment, but would be significant in a few years' time. He said: "Right now it's not exactly historic, but in five years' time when we look back at this we'll think, 'Wow they really started something here'."