Sports and their digital counterparts have seen quite a bit of overlapping points in recent years. From football clubs in the English Premier League (EPL) openly embracing digital sports to a series of partnerships between sporting organizations and gamers powerhouses. A similar partnership was announced on October 4 between the EPL and gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA).
The news broke on October 4, when one of the best-known publishers in the video gaming industry, Electronic Arts (EA) said that it had partnered with the English Premier League (EPL) to bring a new competitive touch to the world’s most-watched football competition.
With the much-anticipated arrival of EA’s latest FIFA game, to name FIFA 19, the video games giant has bene looking for ways to expand between its own bastions. Making an overture to the EPL is not an ill-considered move in the slightest. The EPL is already famous for the variety of FC that are actively involved with digital sports.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) October 4, 2018
West Ham and Manchester City are the brightest example. Manchester City have already confirmed that they will participate in EA’s new league. However, EA’s latest initiative may turn out to be the jump-start that the entire soccer world has needed to embrace electronic competition more openly.
No Team Left Behind
According to EA, the game will feature all 20 teams that are presently in the League itself. Specifically, EA is forging ahead with the inaugural ePremier League (ePL), which will complement the company’s ambitious global-scale competition, which allows top esports athletes an opportunity to distinguish themselves and win a substantial reward.
The newly-minted eLeague will complement the existing EA Sports FIFA Global Series. This move will provide an excellent opportunity to some of the world’s best FC based in the United Club to follow in the footsteps of West Ham and Manchester City and join competitive video gaming.
ePremier League Set to Kick Off in January 2019
EA will not waste time on getting things off the ground. The ePL tournament will start in January 2019 and it is expected to break the concept of electronic sports to a larger audience that is predominantly focused on traditional athletic achievement. EA Competitive Gaming Division General Manager Todd Sitrin was one of the most optimistic commentators on the recent developments.
Through the ePL, this partnership carves a critical path forward in expanding competition not only for players, but for the hundreds of millions watching Premier League games who now can support their club on the virtual and the traditional pitch.
There has been some pushback among football fans that involving serious clubs with esports would detract from the beauty of the sports. Then again, even Cristiano Ronaldo himself plays FIFA and often complains if he thinks that the developers haven’t given his character enough in-game prowess based on the statistics.
EA has successfully branched out its esports titles and have managed to inspire the NBA 2K League, an electronic sibling of the traditional NBA. If the ePremier League can repeat the success of the 2K initiative, the implications for esports can be huge. Once again, the thin line between traditional athletic accomplishment and pixels has been blurred.