Tundra Esports, a London-based esports organization launched in 2019, has unveiled a blockbuster signing – one whose wealth of talent and knowledge it hopes to channel directly to its teams to fuel its lofty ambitions.
Virgil van Dijk, football’s centre-back who plays for the English Premier League team Liverpool FC and the Dutch national team, has become the new ambassador and shareholder of Tundra, which boasts Europe’s number one ranked dota 2 team, the reigning Fortnite Champion Series winners, and perhaps most crucially, teams in FIFA– a game that Van Dijk has loved from an early age.
The announcement is the latest in a long line of deals between athletes and esports teams around the world. In March, Usain Bolt struck a deal with Ireland-based WYLDE; football stars Sergio Agüero and Gareth Bale own KRÜ Esports and Ellevens Esports respectively, while David Beckham famously invested in Tundra’s London rival Guild Esports; F1 star Lando Norris founded the gaming lifestyle brand Quadrant in 2020.
Like Bolt, Van Dijk will use his role as an ambassador and shareholder to support Tundra Esports’ business goals, focusing primarily on nurturing talent and developing both performance and sportsmanship.
The announcement of Van Dijk’s addition to the team has been celebrated by British grime artist – and fellow Tundra Ambassador – P Money, who today released the “first official grime gaming issue” in the world, “OUTPLAYED”. It follows in the footsteps of G2 Esports, which unveiled its 2022 jersey with “Our Way”, reflecting the musician’s belief that the music and game industries will increasingly “go hand in hand” with each other.
Van Dijk said he was delighted to finally enter the world of esports, adding: “Tundra Esports is one of the fastest growing esports organizations in the world, and they are moving in a very exciting direction. They’ve built a great reputation for the well-being of players within a winning culture, which is something that really appeals to me. I’m excited for the future.”
Maxim Demin, the owner and co-founder of Tundra Esports who also owns AFC Bournemouth – which will return to the EPL for the 2022/23 campaign and will play against Van Dijk’s Liverpool – believes this signing is a milestone for his esports team.
He said: “It’s incredible to have someone like Virgil, who is so revered both on and off the pitch, join our team. His insight will be invaluable to our players, but also to [for] how we evolve as an organization. We have so much that we can learn from sports.
“Announcing his involvement through ‘OUTPLAYED’ was a brilliant move by P Money. It was great to have his support and creativity to do something different that not only helps us stand out, but also [offers] something for the community. Hopefully the community finds it as catchy as we do!”