The ELEAGUE series from Turner and WME/IMG has covered a lot of different video games, from Counterstrike: Global Offensive to Street Fighter V to Dota 2 to Rocket League. But now, they’re diving more directly into the world of sports video games. Turner, IMG and Electronic Arts announced Thursday morning that ELEAGUE has teamed up with EA for multiple FIFA 19 competitions, with the first one, the ELEAGUE FUT Champions Cup February, taking place next month in Atlanta. Here’s more on that from their release:
The partnership will kick off with the ELEAGUE FUT Champions Cup February, one of six Major events throughout the EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series. The event will be a worldwide open competition in which 64 of the game’s best players will vie for valuable EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series Points and compete for a $100,000 purse. The ELEAGUE FUT Champions Cup February will take place Friday-Sunday, Feb. 22-24, from ELEAGUE Arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta. The event will feature many of the top competitors from North and South America, alongside popular superstars of competitive FIFA from around the world.
“EA SPORTS FIFA is one of the most popular, critically-acclaimed video games on a global scale and we’re thrilled to align with them in this exciting partnership,” said Craig Barry, EVP & Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “This will provide some unique crossover opportunities for ELEAGUE to leverage Turner’s B/R Football brand and UEFA property, as we continue to expand and further diversify its strategic partnerships to present premium esports content experiences and drive engagement across all platforms.”
“ELEAGUE is a fantastic viewership platform for competitive FIFA and accelerates the mainstream esports and sports connection thanks to the power of Turner Sports,” said Todd Sitrin, SVP and GM of the EA Competitive Gaming Division. “We’re seeing rapid growth for EA SPORTS FIFA competitive gaming right now around the world, and the opportunity to host a major event in North America will be an accelerant to this growth. This partnership with ELEAGUE is perfect given EA SPORTS FIFA’s global reach, its instant accessibility for spectators, and the millions of FIFA competitive gaming players that are participating in the Global Series.”
That event will be streamed across ELEAGUE’s Twitch channel and B/R Live, with highlights also shown later in a TBS series. And it’s just the first event this year. ELEAGUE will also perate a licensed qualifying event as part of the 2019 Global Series from May 3-5, which will also feature global series points and prize money. More details on that will be released later.
This is an interesting move for ELEAGUE, and one that feels like a reasonable fit given some of their audience and reach. There’s already a big esports scene for sports titles like the FIFA and Madden series, and there’s perhaps more crossover there with the traditional sports fans Turner already reaches. (And hey, FIFA makes even more sense now that they have Champions League rights.) Meanwhile, these titles are well-established on the esports scene as well, and this is a high-level competition, so there should be a fair number of esports fans interested in seeing what happens here. We’ll see how it pans out for ELEAGUE, but there’s certainly some potential to this move.