The Esports industry is steadily stepping into partnership with traditional sports teams. This started in North America with Basketball teams supporting and working with organisations, and over the course of the past two years, we have seen European Football teams acquiring professional FIFA players and linking up with Esports organisations.
Following this impressive growth, UEFA will be launching the eChampions League in 2019 and will be providing players with the opportunity to represent their clubs. This tournament builds up to a final that will be held in Madrid on the 31st of May, just one day before the Champions League final.
The format for this tournament will start with global knockout tournaments that will be played online in the beginning on March, from this tournament the top 64 players shall progress to a qualifier event in April that will be live for fans. These 64 players will then condense to eight after the qualifier event in April, and they will compete for their share of a $280,000 prize pool where the winner will take home $100,000.
Brent Koning, the Gaming Chief at EA Sports had this to say following the announcement:
“It creates a unique opportunity for the competitive FIFA superstars to represent their clubs in the pinnacle of club football.”
This tournament will be played on the PlayStation 4 and will become part of the FIFA 19 Global Series. Football teams like Paris St-Germain (PSG), Manchester City, Schalke, Brondby and Wolfsburg are already partnered with Esports team and players, with the announcement of the eChampions League we can be set to see many more stepping into the scene.
“We see the eChampions League and competitive FIFA as an important in connecting with existing and new fans of the UEFA Champions League,” said the UEFA Marketing Director, Guy-Laurent Epstein.
This is an exciting time for the Esports industry as it will open up the potential of reaching new faces and these professional teams supporting organisations will help get rid of the negative stigma that outsiders place on gamers.