Inter Milan Partners With Mkers In Italy As Football’s Presence In Esports Grows

It seems like Inter Milan are also going to sway with the trend as they’re the latest football club to partner with an esports organization. The Nerazzuri, who are one of the giants of Italian club football, have partnered with Mkers, one of the biggest esports organizations in Italy to make their presence known in the ever-growing esports world.

Mkers have already got a presence in FIFA, VALORANT esports, NBA 2K, Assetto Corsa and Rainbow Six, and partnered with some massive Italian luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Armani. They’ve also partnered with Gillette, which goes to show their own growing ambition.

Inter Milan CEO, Alessandro Antonello, was quite clear with his statement following the announcement of the partnership. He felt the need to state that partnerships of the kind were of great strategic importance to connect with the younger generation.

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Image Credit | Inter Milan & Mkers

Were Football Clubs And Esports Organizations Always Made For Partnerships?

There’s no doubt that esports games are mostly directed at a younger generation, but that isn’t necessarily the case with football. When an attempt to form a European Super League met a quick end back in 2021, the football world was in disbelief as to why such an attempt was made.

One of the reasons for the same proposed by Andre Agnelli, the Juventus FC chairman, was that youngsters aren’t as interested in football as they once were, and that football was losing an important audience to video games.

It remains to be seen if there is much truth to this, but one way to make that less of a problem is by having football clubs partner with esports organizations. However, there’s always likely to be some backlash from those from the football community when such partnerships arise.

Football Clubs Are Different To Regular Sports Teams

One of the things Agnelli and many other football owners failed to realize when the Super League plan was proposed is that football clubs are not merely seen as a product for consumption but as a service to their respective communities, not unlike a religious institution. It’s part of the reason why there was such backlash from fans to the formation of such a league.

When the Inter Milan CEO speaks about strategic importance, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what sort of bracket football clubs fall under. European football, especially, does not follow a profit-maximization model as seen in American sports, but a win-maximization model.

There isn’t a lot of money to be made in football unless the club happens to be Manchester United, who are a bit of an anomaly. As the recent case of FC Barcelona underlines, a club could go bankrupt, but still survive unlike a regular business. So when statements like strategic importance are made, it’s hard to spell out if deals of the kind are being made as part of the win-maximization or profit-maximization process.

This Is Great News For Mkers

Whatever it may mean for the direction Inter Milan are planning to take, this is great news for Mkers, who will be associated with a pretty big brand in the football world and Italy. This isn’t their first association with football as A.S Roma and Italian national football team legend Daniele De Rossi had made an investment in 2019.

The esports industry is one that is still emerging on the world scale, and could use whatever help it gets on the way, and the same goes for esports organizations like Mkers. They will benefit greatly from some of the revenues that might ultimately come from this partnership, and this association will help magnify the organization’s brand around Italy at the very least.

For Inter, the main advantage is that the club can now have better players for its esports team. The team competes in eFootball, which is KONAMI’s football game. This is important for Inter because they are no longer in the popular FIFA games after entering into a partnership with KONAMI in 2022.

The FIFA games in many ways have been a gateway for younger audiences into the wider world of football, and this partnership might be a great way to fill that FIFA-shaped vacuum. It does beg the question of why Inter decided to take such a gamble with KONAMI in the first place if attracting youngsters was such an important part of their business strategy. For now, they don’t have to worry about that.