January 15 – Major League Soccer is entering the esports market via a partnership with EA Sports to launch an esports league based on FIFA 18. The new league, eMLS, will launch with 19 of the 23 MLS teams represented.
MLS teams will recruit their own players from their own regions via local tournaments, and may recruit multiple players. However, only one player can represent them at the inaugural eMLS Cup to be played in April at gaming festival PAX East in Boston.
The winners of this event will be the US and Canada qualifiers to the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs for a berth to August’s FIFA eWorld Cup.
MLS already has a partnership with EA Sports. The new league launch is a product of that arrangement and is aimed at building the MLS brand bioth domestically and internationally.
“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 millions of FIFA players around the world,” said MLS Business Ventures President and Managing Director, Gary Stevenson.
The MLS is following in the e-steps of the Eredivisie’s E-divisie, the French Orange eLigue 1, the Virtual Bundesliga and a Russian competition where all top flight teams have a FIFA pro. In the US the NBA and NFL both have their own esports leagues.
eMLS will start with the following clubs in competition: Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
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