The European Tour has announced that it is set to launch golf’s first esports series, the European eTour, in partnership with esports events organiser DreamHack and games developer Topgolf Entertainment Group.
The European eTour builds on the one-off European eTour Championship the body held in Denmark earlier this year, and will feature six competitions held at various locations around the world over the course of the 2020 golf season.
Players will compete in the world’s leading mobile golf game, World Golf Tour, developed by Topgolf, which is currently played by over 20 million people worldwide. An online qualification process will reduce the competitors down to a final eight, who will then compete against one another live during European Tour events.
The winners of the first five tournaments will then be joined by three wildcards to compete for the inaugural championship at the European Tour’s own season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 19-22, 2020.
DreamHack, which is owned by Swedish digital media conglomerate Modern Times Group, will manage the logistical and organisational aspect of the esports events, creating a “premium experience”, according to a European Tour statement.
Expanding its esports offering is part of the European Tour’s wider project to diversify its revenue streams and grow its business-to-consumer platforms. Last month, the organisation’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, spoke to SportBusiness Professional about his “commitment to esports”, adding that the Tour was moving to “accentuate our growth beyond just creating [traditional] tournaments”.
On the announcement, the European Tour’s chief content officer, Rufus Hack, said: “The launch of the European eTour underlines the European Tour’s commitment to innovation and we believe this is an exciting opportunity for us to be leaders in a market that has huge growth potential. The esports industry allows the European Tour to engage with our existing audience in a different way and attract new fans outside of our traditional demographic through our broadcast and digital platforms.”