If there’s any football club in England that shows the increasing overlap between traditional and online sports, it’s Hashtag United. Famously starting out as a series of exhibition matches played by YouTuber Spencer Owen and friends, the team’s popularity, coupled with Spencer’s online presence, soon meant the club applied for entry to The FA National League System. Now playing in the Isthmian League North Division, they have ambitions to climb the English football pyramid and grow their YouTube following, of half a million subscribers, at the same time.

Further evidence of this crossover between physical and online sport is the club’s esports team, which is one of the best, and most well-renowned, esports teams in the world, winning major tournaments and participating in major global competitions.

YouTube video

As an established partner of Hashtag United, UCFB caught up with Seb Carmichael-Brown, the club’s Commercial Director, after launching our brand new BA (Hons) Esports degree last month.

Commenting on the programme, he said: “I am going to tell you something - I wish there was somewhere like this to come and study back when I was enrolling at university. There really is no better way for you to get started in a career in football. It’s a fantastic way for you to get amazing and varied coverage of all the things that make up this new, emerging industry.”

As one of the fastest growing industries in the world, Esports is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, is one third of the size of the NBA ad comparable to France’s Ligue 1. While there was, intially, some scepticism with regard to the industry, this has quickly vanished amongst critics of the game.

Seb went on: "We remember seeing all the other premier league clubs telling them ‘you need to get into Esports’, some of them did, some of them didn’t. Now they’re all into it, of course. That was always Spencer’s vision as a FIFA content creator - he very much saw the evolution of that space going into the competitive world, which is what happened. There are dozens and dozens of people who are professional Esports players. We’ve seen Esports grow enormously in the last decade, across a number of different titles."

Find out more about UCFB's BA (Hons) Esports programme.