The Essendon Football Club have announced their entry to the esports scene with the acquisition of Abyss Esports. In a partnership with Executive Sports and Entertainment, the Melbourne based football club will integrate the team into their organisation and relocate them in the lead up to the first OPL split of 2018.

A full rebrand is on the way for Abyss, with a new logo and name in the works. It appears they’re not planning on simply slapping the Essendon Bombers name on the squad, so it’ll be interesting to see how close to home the new branding is.

Essendon is the first Melbourne club to secure and OPL licence, with the other major holder being the Adelaide Football Club with Legacy. While roster and final details is all still to be announced, more will be undoubtedly be revealed in the coming month as Riot finalises the details of the OPL split for next year.

“As a Club, we are looking at ways to diversify our business, invest in growth and create new opportunities to drive incremental consumer and commercial revenues,” said Essendon Chief Marketing Officer, Justin Rodski.

“We will bring our expertise in elite and professional sport to strengthen the team across all areas, including a particular focus on player welfare and development,” he continued. “There is a rich and diverse community eco-system in esports and this is our opportunity to be culturally relevant to the millennial audience and engage a new fan base.”

After the positive influence of traditional sports ownership on Legacy Esports, this is a great sign for the OPL as a whole. As we move into 2018 and beyond, this sort of announcement is likely to become a common thing – strengthening the players, organisations and place of esports in the ANZ region.