February 27 – Poland’s Ekstraklasa has confirmed it will be added to the FIFA Global Series with all 16 of the top tier teams competing.
Titled the Ekstraklasa Games, the esports league will begin next week (March 5) on the EA Sports FIFA platform with a Grand Final in May 26 – each club with have four players (two Xbox, two PlayStation).
In the qualifying phase the two players per club on each console will be whittled down to one. Once each club has their rosters, the League Phase will then begin, with each of the 16 clubs playing each other twice.
The top 8 teams from the League Phase will then progress to the Grand Final. The new competition will give Polish esports players a chance of securing Global Series points (the qualifier for the FIFA eWorld Cup) just before the regular season ends. There has been no confirmation of prize money but players will likely earn 200 Global Series points.
The Ekstraklasa games are being ran by ESL Poland and the League and Grand Final phases will be broadcast from the Polsat Games Studios.
“This is a strategic project for us that will allow the Polish FIFA scene to enter an even higher level. We are happy about the involvement of the Ekstraklasa and all clubs and the fact that they see the potential of esport in Poland.” said Konrad Wójciński, Marketing & Communications Manager at EA Polska.
“Ekstraklasa wants to be a part of various communities and is looking for innovative solutions to help promote the Polish league. We realise that esports is growing in popularity, and [is becoming] an important part of the lives of youth. Entering the virtual football world is a natural step, and a necessary one,” said Marcin Mikucki, CMO at Ekstraklasa.
The Ekstraklasa teamed up with Lagardère Sports Poland to explore the creation of the league. In 2017 the league played its esports Ekstraklasa Cup on the EA Sports FIFA platform.
Ekstraklasa chairman Marcin Animucki said: “We see a huge potential in esports, that’s why we want to approach this topic professionally, and maximize the promotion of the league through virtual competitions. That’s why we chose to partner with one of the key global players in terms of sports marketing and esports, and one with extensive experience. Together we want to create an attractive product for clubs, fans, but also for sponsors, advertisers, and broadcasters.”
Lagardère will lead talks with potential sponsors and partners in establishing the commercial model for the league. Andrzej Placzyński, chairman of Lagardère Sports Poland said: “Ekstraklasa launching its own esports league is an answer to the newest trends in sports marketing, and to the changes in the way people consume media.”
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