When real sports leagues and franchises start to buy into eSports, it should make you realize that eSports are legitimate and here to stay. Both the NBA and FIFA are now heavily invested in eSports and it brings a whole new dynamic to the table. People have been betting on sports outcomes since sports came into existence, and more recently casinos and online sportsbooks like Bovada have been putting lines on tournaments and matches for League of Legends, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. and more, now it goes a step further with virtual basketball and virtual football (soccer
The inaugural season of the NBA 2K League was a smash success. So much so that they expanded the league for the 2019 season by adding the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, and Brooklyn Nets. Now there are only nine NBA teams that don’t also have an eSports team to represent them.
This has been an amazing precedent for bringing eSports into the mainstream. Sure, people who are into gaming and follow the different major leagues for CSG: GO, StarCraft, Dota 2 and LoL are familiar with the different teams, and often even the investment groups behind them.
But now with globally known sports franchises buying in and marketing their virtual teams, eSports are becoming a household thing across the world. Pretty much every kid in the United Kingdom’s dream is coming true. They now have a legitimate shot at playing for a Premier League team. The English Premier League realized that they were losing their younger audience and decided to take the leap into the virtual world to reconnect with the iGeneration.
The ePL or ePremier League will kick off in January of 2019, so more FIFA excitement is just around the corner. The season will go on for about three months, with the Finals taking place in London, England on March 28th and 29th.
West Ham and Manchester United already have established their eSports FIFA players. But now the EPL is all in and if you are based in the UK, you could have your chance to play for your favorite team. On December 3rd registration will open online for the ePL. Then in January, you can start competing against other players vying to represent their favorite squad. All through January, players will hit the pitch on both the Playstation for and Xbox One to determine who are the top 16 for each platform. The winners will represent their EPL team in the ePL and begin Club Playoffs in February and play eachother in tournaments into March. At the end of March, the Finals will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
The NBA is obviously huge in the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe, like Germany and Lithuania etc. But the NBA is dwarfed in comparison to the millions of football fans around the world. Millions of people across the globe play FIFA regularly and millions more are fans of the England’s top-flight football clubs, so this is surely a win-win for bringing more awareness to both FIFA and eSports. With the release of FIFA19 and the 2019 eWorld Cup set to take place with over $250,000 worth of prize money, there should be no shortage of hype as the eSports and professional sports continue to cross paths.
We can’t wait to watch the competitions when they begin in January and see how or if it at all correlates to the ‘real’ teams in the EPL.