Rupert Murdoch's News UK has recognised the booming appeal of eSports by agreeing a two-year commercial partnership with professional video gaming firm Gfinity.
Aim-listed Gfinity has a rapidly expanding online user base in excess of 300,000 and boasts of the UK's first eSports-dedicated arena which hosts weekly professional competitions of games such as Fifa '15, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty.
News UK has recognised the company's popularity by signing a partnership contract under which The Sun will become the official partner and title sponsors of the Gfinity UK Championship Series, weekly online tournaments and its "High Performance Programme", which helps to develop world class eSports players from the UK.
Gfinity says the deal could lead to an increase in audience figures, create new revenue streams and "provide an opportunity to uncover the next generation of eSports stars". The company's losses widened on investment last year as it looked to establish itself as a major player in the industry.
As part of the deal the two parties will look to sell eSports related merchandise through an online platform and offer priority ticket purchases to readers of The Sun.
Mike Darcey, chief executive of News UK, said:
Through our new partnership with Gfinity, we are proud to have become the first newspaper group to break into the expanding eSports market. Producing world-class journalism is at the heart of what News UK does, but as part of our business development strategy we actively seek out opportunities to reach new audiences through different media. We now look forward to uncovering new commercial opportunities and relationships in this exciting new sector.