Quite the opposite actually. The up and coming E Leagues are not groups of left wing activists attempting to convert you to renewable energy, (relax all you conservatives out there, but while I’m here, get your act together), it’a actually quite the opposite. It’s a video game league consisting of ‘power hungry’ FIFA19 fanatics competing in the ever growing world of Esports.
For those who don’t know, Esports is a competition where opponents play against each other with different video games. In this case, it’s Electronics Arts FIFA series which is the video game of choice. Millions of participants compete online in differently formatted competitions in the hope of winning prize money, sponsorship, contracts and the chance to play at the FIFA eWorld Cup.
Did you know that the first FIFA eWorld Cup, (formerly known as the FIFA Interactive Wold Cup up until 2018), was played in 2004? I had no idea. The winner was Brazilian Thiago Carrico de Azevedo who took away $20,000 in prize money and collected his trophy alongside a list of high profile football players at a FIFA World Gala. Playing as France, Thiago defeated his opponent, who was playing as AC Milan, 2-1 to win the inaugural FIFA Interactive World Cup.
Fast forward to 2018, and over 20 million players later, Mosaad Aldossary wins the FIFA eWorld Cup. Claiming $250,000 USD in prize money, a trip to The Best FIFA Football Awards as well as the eWorld Cup trophy. The event was live streamed in multiple languages all around the world, while the rest of the crowd was packed into the iconic O2 Arena to watch the finale. Referred to by his gamer tag, ‘Msdossary’ won the even 4-0 on aggregate as the competition requires players to compete on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles while utilising the games FIFA ultimate team format to design their own custom football squad.
Such is the growth of Esports that professional football clubs are now recruiting their own FIFA video game players to represent them and hopefully support them in their journey to qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup. Thats right people, it’s very likely that your beloved football team have their own Esports competitors who will represent them in upcoming FIFA events. And just like any football player, they are contracted to the team they’re representing.
The player contracts, along with competition prize money and sponsorships mean playing video games competitively can be a lucrative career option, with most of FIFA players earning more than you and I, (I knew I should have kept playing FIFA all those years ago).
Esports competitions are on the rise. Becoming more and more popular every year. With more sponsors, fans, competitors and readily available live streaming, it is quickly becoming a valuable revenue source for many sporting companies and association football clubs. Just to give you an idea of the growth, below is a list of just some of the eFootball Leagues from around the world:
- E-League (Australia)
- eMLS (USA)
- ePremier League (England)
- La Liga Esports (Spain)
- Virtual Bundesliga (Germany)
- eSuperliga (Denmark)
- eChampions league (UEFA)
- E-Divisie (Netherlands)
Not every single club has a representative in each of the leagues, notably Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich missing from the Virtual Bundesliga. But in the coming years, I can guarantee that every football club is going to have multiple competitors in their respective eFootball League.
If last year’s eWorld Cup Final is anything to go by, one can only imagine the possibilities that come with eSports. Even though I feel I have missed my calling, it definitely opens up the door for anybody who can master the football simulator to represent their beloved team on the world stage.
Sunderland, if you require a representative, I will gladly dust off the controller and start my new career as soon as you require.