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IN THE 2019 PAPER: Local FIFA maestro reveals the price to pay for Esports stardom

IRELAND’s number one FIFA player Conran ‘Rannerz’ Tobin, seemingly lived the dream life of any young FIFA player, however, the Limerick man says that his lucrative career comes with a hefty cost.

Tobin believes that to get to the top, much like the oil-rich clubs of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain; you must invest real cash into the game to acquire the best players, but you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.

“If you want to compete you have to spend cash straight away, everyone at the top has the best teams so to keep up with them you have to invest.

“This year I only did €2,000 because I’m only half competing, nowadays though you’ve got to spend about €4-5,000 to compete and have a really good team,” Tobin elaborated.

After climbing the FIFA ladder in late 2017 and early 2018, the 23-year old caught the eye of Italian Serie A side AS Roma’s esports team.

“That’s what being with a team, like Roma, is good for, they would cover most of that money, and you’d also be salaried, so the amount you invest would not even be one salary. So you make money from the salary, the competition prize money and plus if you’re doing Twitter or YouTube you get revenue for that, plus sponsorship.

“Including prize money, including all of the revenue you want to be hitting about 60 plus thousand earnings in a year with Roma. It’s certainly something you can make a career out of. Next year I want to go professional fully, and then stream and do YouTube at the same time because I’ll have the time,” Tobin said.

‘Rannerz’ repaid his team’s faith when his side outlasted the world’s best FIFA stars to give the AS Roma Fnatic the victory in the Gfinity Elite Series in May of that year.

“2018 was a crazy year for me, I got signed to Roma Fnatic and won
a Gfinity with them which earned us €25,000; also, in May I went over to Sao Paulo to play there, and come September of last year, I moved to London to the Roma gaming house.

“The gaming house was basically me, two other players, coach and manager all under the same roof playing about 60 hours of FIFA per week. It was cool but really intense over there, you’re constantly in it, you don’t just play when you can and then do other stuff.

“It was so focused and definitely had pros and cons. Pros being doing what you love and cons would be you’re only doing what you love, so it was hard to get breaks,” Tobin explained.

Helping Roma to the title catapulted the Limerick native’s name onto FIFA’s international map, making his journey from sofa to professional impressively quick.

“I made the world top 100 ranka few weeks in a row in FIFA 17, and then there were a few mini- tournaments during the week where first place would get €100.

“Even though the money wasn’t great, winning those tournaments was a big achievement because there were big names playing in them, and then FIFA 18 came around and I started to practice and decided to give it a proper go,” the FIFA star added.

“I then finished sixteenth in the official EA global series event for November 2017 and qualified for Barcelona in January which had a €200k prize pool; I got top 32 in that, which was okay, I thought I would’ve done better, but from there it took off.”

Despite earning €35,000 last year playing the game professionally and getting signed to AS Roma’s Esports team in April 2018, the Limerick man believes it is important to secure his Financial Maths degree at the University of Limerick, before chasing further FIFA glory.

“I left Roma last April and came to Ireland. I’m finishing my degree at the moment while still half playing on the side, and then after my degree I’m going to go back and give it a proper go.

“I think it’s definitely important to finish college in case I want to go back to it in the future,” Tobin added.

Once Tobin secures his degree next year, his FIFA career will officially start, whether that involves staying professional for the foreseeable future or going into management with a club, the 23 year-old has football’s online gaming world at his feet.

“I’ve been all over the world. If you’re with a team you go over a few days before to adjust to the different time-zone, have a bit of a holiday because flights and accommodation will be paid for by EA.

“I won in London. The final was crazy. It’s so intense, before you play you’re nervous, everyone is there watching, there’s cameras, there’s lights, it’s a spectacle. But then when you play the game it’s like when you play at home, you just focus and forget you’re there,” Tobin reminisced.

Tobin has recently signed a new sponsorship deal with Thrustmaster,
a gaming company, as a brand ambassador for their next official licensed Sony PS4 eSwap Pro Controller (controller worth
€170.00).

“This partnership is a great for both parties as I love the eSwap controller and being able to promote it and work with Thrustmaster has been a wonderful experience so far and we have many plans for the future.

“My plan for the future is to just keep competing until I can’t, and then go into the coaching and management side of FIFA. I do think it would be good to manage a team.

It’s obviously more stable and it’s more official.

“You’re literally employed by a team or a company with a full-time contract. It’s literally like a small football club with the amount of money being pumped into it.

“A manager would just sign players, negotiate contracts and then help the players with whatever they need like arranging meetings with sponsors, going to events, booking flights, hotels, making sure the players have everything they need like training facilities and stuff like that. I can’t wait to get started.”

Limerick Voice 2019 newspaper is available today in all copies of the Limerick Leader.

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