Will the Premier League start its own esports league?

We’ve seen La Liga do it. We’ve seen MLS do it. In fact, in some form or another, we’ve seen Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and Australia’s A-League do it. We’ve even seen FIFA do it.

Surely, then, it’s only a matter of time before we see the Premier League take the bull by the horns and start its own FIFA 18 esports league.

Of course, just because others are doing it maybe isn’t a good enough reason to create an entire league. Esports is a serious business with massive advertising revenues, sponsorship opportunities and a growing fanbase, after all. And even if FIFA 18 is a relatively minor player in the esports world, it’s still a credible chunk of the market.

But already, others are taking on the mantle. Manchester City and West Ham are notable clubs to have signed up dedicated esports players, whilst plenty of other English clubs are competing in the eFootball League, broadcast on Goal.com, who have signed up their own player too.

With FIFA setting up the eWorld Cup and using regional leagues like those organised by MLS feeder competitions for the global finals this could well take on another dimension. The fact it’s run by FIFA itself lends it an extra credibility and seriousness, certainly in the eyes of clubs and leagues.

The Premier League is in a similar position to that of Manchester United in some ways. Over the last month or so, we’ve seen the Red Devils launch a YouTube channel and a women’s football team. These two things can’t be compared in terms of importance of course: it’s great they have a YouTube channel, but the fact they’re committing to a women’s team matters a great deal. But the coverage both events generated shows the dilemma: United are so big that when they do something, it’s automatically serious. As a result, they have to be absolutely sure of what they’re doing because jumping in requires doing so with both feet.

The same goes for the Premier League here. If they are to create their own esports league and get all of their 20 clubs involved, it will instantly be a huge news story and will go even beyond the esports world. They have to ensure they get it right, then, before diving in.

But with FIFA committed, with some of their clubs already dabbling in esports, and with other leagues launching their own competitions within a clear structure set down by football’s governing body, there appears to be a window of opportunity for organised, competitive FIFA 18 between clubs to take off.

It’s surely only a matter of time before we see the Premier League get involved and take interest in it to a whole new level.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 723 posts

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

You might also like

Quality, price, latency or piracy – what are the biggest issues for OTT and live streaming?

What did we learn from Digital Sport London’s November event on OTT?

Slash Football and Sky Q are set to release more digital content

Slash Football and Sky Q have entered a new partnership that focuses on digital distribution of football content.

Stars of women’s sport have huge potential for brands – stop overlooking them!

Working with female athletes isn’t just about being part of a shift in mindsets – it makes perfect business sense too.