Emerging talent and esports: what’s next for Fosun’s Wolverhampton Wanderers


The fourth season in the Premier League has come, and the “wolves” are on the sixth line in the standings. It seems that this is where they belong: in 2019 and 2020, they were seventh.

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In November last year, they were also sixth, but the injury of Raul Jimenez stalled the progress of the team, which without him dropped to 13th place.

Now Jimenez is back, and he plays perfectly. Wolverhampton may hope to make it to the European competition again, but … what are they expecting from this season? How desperate are the owners of the club, the conglomerate Fosun International, hungry for success? And what is their purpose?

Observant and attentive can already say that a lot has changed since the moment when Fosum first appeared in the Premier League. Initially, the ambition could at least be scooped up with a shovel: let’s take and beat City, we will become the largest club, everything like that. But the further, the more modest ambitions became. Interfered with financial fair play? Maybe. But even so easy to “buy” your place at the top is not the path that the Chinese have chosen for themselves.

Wolverhampton may have spent a lot in the first three seasons, but now they are saving again – largely due to the pandemic. Last season, the main thing was to stabilize the club and eliminate the risk of being in debt. Diogo Jota, Matt Doherty and Elder Costa were sold, bringing the club £ 80m. 70 million went to buy Nelson Semed and Fabio Silva.

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The guide does not hide that more could have been done. The year 2021 did not bring much gain, aside from the acquisition of Hwang Hee Chan. Wolves increasingly rely on the purchases of untested footballers who gain strength in two to three years. Their main concerns this season are defense.

All of this makes one wonder what the team will face in 2022. Wolverhampton already boast a strong team with a number of strong players like Ruben Nevis, Adama Traore and Pedro Neto, but we must not forget that Romain Saiss, João Moutinho and Marsal have already celebrated their thirtieth anniversary. The question arises whether the “wolves” will spend money to rise to the top four, or will continue to resell their stars as before and remain in positive territory. Or maybe all at once? Maybe they are thinking about a hybrid model?

The owners of Wolverhampton try to think about global strategy, and this applies to everything – breeding, sports science and marketing.

Let’s dig deeper, and it will become clear that the “wolves” do a lot. Investment in esports, fashion and music has increased in the past three years. The label Wolves Records was created, allowing local singer Briony Williams to perform at Molyneux Stadium. The stadium will soon be home to a dozen local performers in a new initiative called Louder.

The newly formed Fosun Sports marks a new milestone for the club. This organization is directly involved in the management of the club, hoping to receive a stable income from both the football aspect and eSports.

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The idea of ​​esports may seem foreign to most fans, but there is potential, as confirmed by new cash infusions from the American firm Peak6.

You can also make money on football, but there is a belief that the ground has been achieved here. No more squeezing out, and so the Chinese owners turned their attention to other sources of profit. Whether you like it or not, esports is only growing – especially in Asia and the United States. It opens up new markets where you can cash in very well. Wolverhampton attracts over 200,000 fans, but the owners are thinking of ten million potential cyberstars.

Let’s just remember how thousands of spectators took to the streets in Wuhan to watch the final of the League of Legends championship together. By the way, the “wolves” have already invested here thanks to an agreement with Evil Geniuses.

Wolverhampton also invested in China’s largest esports league, the Honor of Kings, and acquired the Chongqing QGhappy team, now renamed Chongqing Wolves. And what does all this have to do with football? Well, it’s an investment in a fast-growing business and a way to target your marketing campaign to a whole new audience. The esports team also proudly flaunts the wolf logo, which increases brand awareness. It is obvious that they are trying to repeat the success of Red Bull and conquer as many markets as possible, thereby increasing the status of Fosun Sports. In China, Wolverhampton employs about 200 people just to work with esports players.

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