January 19 – The AFC has released more detail of the inaugural AFC eAsian Cup which will be played February 1-5 in Doha, running parallel to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
The AFC’s first venture into esports, the AFC eAsian Cup tournament will feature 20 teams from AFC Member Associations participating in the 18th edition of the Asian Cup. The esports tournament wil coincide with the end of the Asian Cup group stages and finish just before the semi-finals kick off on February 6.
In the group stage, teams will be divided into four groups of three teams and two groups of four. Each team, comprising two main players and one substitute, will engage in 12-minute matches in a 2v2 format on Konami’s eFootball 2024, using PlayStation 5 consoles.
Following the AFC Asian Cup format, the top two teams in each group and the four best third-place finishers will advance to the Knockout Stage, with matches in each round determined in a best-of-three format.
The AFC said the introduction of the eAsian Cup is expected to contribute to the overall celebration of football within Asia, while signalling the AFC’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and dynamic football community across the continent.
The opportunity for the AFC’s first venture into Esports arose upon Qatar’s taking of the reigns for the 2024 tournament, with former hosts China dropping out due to COVID-19 concerns. Qatar has a strong connection to the growth of eSports.
Competitive eSports has been a growing market across the sporting sector. The eSports market worldwide is expected to show an annual growth rate of 8.62%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$5.7 billion by 2028.
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