Spanish incumbent’s domestic arm partners with tournament organiser ESL, will produce content, form its own eSports club.

Telefonica on Wednesday detailed plans to tap into the growing popularity of eSports by partnering with tournament organiser ESL, providing coverage of events, and even establishing an eSports club.

Millions of fans worldwide now watch competitive video gaming, or eSports. According to eSports-Marketing, 36 million unique viewers watched the 2015 League of Legends World Championship. eSports has also turned what was once a diversionary pastime into a full-time occupation: according to, the top-ranked players earned more than $1.7 million (€1.6 million) in winnings last year alone.

"We want to do our part for eSports, which we believe is the sport of the 21st century," said Luis Miguel Gilpérez, president of Telefonica Spain, in a statement.

With that in mind, Telefonica announced on Wednesday that its domestic arm, Movistar, has partnered with eSports tournament organiser ESL to promote both amateur and professional competitions in Spain in a bid to attract greater participation from players and grow the audience.

Movistar will also provide localisation services to ESL for major eSports tournaments held in Spain. Furthermore, the telco’s Movistar+ digital TV platform will provide coverage of competitions, as well as a weekly magazine show.

Not only that, but Movistar will also form its very own eSports club, the ‘Movistar Riders’, which aims to sign up and cultivate budding eSports teams. The club will have a physical headquarters, and even its own kit.

"This will create an electronic gaming ecosystem in the country which, in addition to the very best telecommunications networks, will position Telefonica and its Movistar brand at the epicentre of this mass phenomenon that young people are joining with unbridled enthusiasm," said Gilpérez.