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Swiss Soccer Fans Temporarily Stop Game to Protest Esports

Soccer fans in Switzerland delayed a match on Sunday to protest esports in an unusual way, according to the Associated Press.

The fans reportedly threw tennis balls and game controllers onto the field, forcing the referee to stop the game between Young Boys and FC Basel for two minutes while everything was cleared away. The Young Boys protesters then held up a giant banner with a pause button symbol, while Basel fans also raised their own sign supporting the protest. One of the banners read “Scheiss esports,” which roughly translates to “esports are s—.”

European soccer clubs are increasingly getting involved in esports leagues. While Young Boys doesn’t have any skin in professional gaming yet, Basel has its own “FIFA” team.

The global esports economy is expected to grow by 38% to $905.6 million this year, according to market intelligence company Newzoo. While North America remains the largest market, Western Europe is the second-largest region in terms of revenue and it’s expected to make $169 million this year.

“Western Europe, more than any other region, is characterized by localized esports ecosystems that operate next to regional tournaments and leagues,” Newzoo said. “While international leagues are very popular, local esports organizers have done extremely well over the past few years. Some notable examples are ESWC (France), Gfinity (UK), and LVP (Spain). As audiences across countries are culturally diverse, many sponsors, media companies, and investors that operate on a local level are looking for esports initiatives that match their strategy.”

Young Boys won the game against Basel 7-1 on Sunday.

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