MLS partners with EA Sports’ FIFA 18 to set up its own esports league

As esports become a more visible part of the sporting landscape, 2018 is bringing EA Sports’ FIFA 18 towards the mainstream of the esports spectrum.

Although to many sports fans in the UK, FIFA 18 is perhaps the most recognisable title of the esports ecosystem, it’s certainly not one of the very biggest players around. But with the arrival of some of the biggest names in the world of football to esports that has looked set to change for a while.
Big clubs in Europe, however, have been on the scene for quite some time and that growth seems to have plateaued, but the new year might be bringing a new push to boost the profile of FIFA 18 as a serious player in the esports world.

Last week, we reported on the eFootball League, which announced the launch of its inaugural season with teams such as Ajax, Wolves and AS Roma taking part, and which will be broadcast by Goal.com, a global publisher who will potentially bring millions of eyeballs when the tournament is streamed live.

This week in the US, Major League Soccer is now about to partner with EA Sports to set up its own league with participants from 19 of the 23 MLS clubs at the outset.

Each of the participating clubs will be represented by one gamer, and the prize for winning the entire league will be the chance to represent the league itself at the 2018 eWorld Cup, which pits 32 qualified players against each other in an esports equivalent to the FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Russia this summer.

Gary Stevenson, president and managing director, MLS Business Ventures, said, “We are excited to unveil eMLS. This step forward into competitive gaming is a key component in our partnership with EA Sports to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and the millions of FIFA players around the world.”

This tournament seems to bring together the game creators EA and mainstream leagues into something more structured. Although there are competing games like Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer, who have partnership deals with some big clubs like FC Barcelona, perhaps this is the start of an attempt from some parties to bring football’s esports structures closer into line with the structures football fans know and love around the world.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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