With football clubs increasingly turning to EA Sports’ FIFA video game franchise in an attempt to get in on the growing interest in esports, the Premier League, English’s highest-rated football tournament, has announced the ePremier League.
As registration edges nearer, here is everything you need to know about the upcoming FIFA esports tournament:
What is the ePremier League?
Announced back in October, the ePremier League is an esports league launched by the top flight of English football, the Premier League, in collaboration with video game publisher Electronic Arts.
Sides that currently play in the Premier League can sign UK-based players to compete in the ePL, with players set to compete against each other in EA’s hit video game, FIFA 19.
The competition will be run by esports tournament organisers Gfinity.
Richard Masters, Premier League Managing Director, said:
“We know that millions of fans play FIFA and this new esports competition will provide our clubs with an exciting opportunity to engage with them.”
Todd Sitrin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the EA Competitive Gaming Division, said:
“The Premier League’s global reach and intensely passionate fanbase pushes EA SPORTS FIFA competition to unprecedented heights as we accelerate esports growth through traditional sports.
“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.”
When does the ePremier League start?
While the Premier League, like most football leagues, begins in August and ends in May, the ePremier League will follow the league format more commonly used in esports.
Online qualification will begin in January, allowing all FIFA 19 players aged over 16 to compete for the chance to compete in the club playoffs.
Each club will be allowed to select two players, one from the Xbox One platform and one from the PS4 platform, to represent them. A final, taking place between the two best competitors, will then determine the ePL champion.
ePremier League dates
3 December 2018 – Competitor registration opens
January 2019 – Online qualification begins
February-March 2019 – Club playoffs
28-29 March 2019 – ePL final takes place
ePremier League final: When and where?
The ePremier League final will take place in London in March, with the best playoff players taking part in the final spectacle.
ePremier League teams
The 20 teams playing in the 2018/19 season of the Premier League will be invited to take part in the ePremier League. These teams are:
Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham United
ePremier League League stream: Where can you watch the ePremier League?
Few details have been given about ePremier League streams.
However, ePL fans will definitely be able to tune into the March final. The final round of the tournament will be broadcast live via the Premier League social media channels. Likewise, it will also be available for Sky Sports subscribers to watch on television and through the apps.
Should the tournament prove popular with football fans, coverage of the ePL will likely increase in future seasons.