Major League Soccer has announced the creation of eMLS, a new competitive gaming league within Electronic Art (EA) Sports FIFA 18. Players from 19 MLS clubs will compete for the chance to represent the entire league in the FIFA eWorld Cup.
MLS becomes the latest professional sports league in North America to launch a component e-sports competition. The NBA will debut its NBA 2K League this year and the National Football League will have the finals of its own Madden tournament at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
“We are excited to unveil eMLS,” said Gary Stevenson, president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures. “This step forward into competitive gaming is a key component in our partnership with EA Sports to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and the millions of FIFA players around the world.”
The 19 MLS clubs that will participate in eMLS are: Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Each club will select its own player to compete in eMLS, which will include the eMLS Cup. The winner of the eMLS Cup will advance to the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoff and compete at the FIFA eWorld Cup in August. eMLS Cup will debut at Pax East, a gaming culture festival to be held April 5–8 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
“We’re honored to partner with MLS within the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series as we continue to help grow competitive gaming and soccer in North America,” said Todd Sitrin, senior vice-president and general manager of the competitive gaming division at EA. “We engage millions of soccer fans daily through FIFA and attract many more who view our competitions around the world. With the eMLS we accelerate our growth as players compete on the road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018.”