Major League Soccer and FOX Sports announced today they have launched a new round of eMLS as a part of EA's Stay and Play Initiative. Since the regular season can't really be held due to the coronavirus, the two will be holding an eMLS Tournament Special presented by Coca-Cola and PlayStation, which will debut on Sunday, April 19th on FS1 and FOX Deportes at 7pm ET. This will be a five-episode series where theyw will team up MLS players and eMLS players from the same clubs in single-elimination FIFA 20 tournaments. The first week will pit the Chicago Fire against FC Cincinnati, followed by a digital version of "El Trafico" between the LA Galaxy and LAFC. Here's a few quotes from the two parties about the tournaments.
"The eMLS Tournament Special represents the spirit of MLS Unites by entertaining fans and giving back to our communities," said Camilo Durana, MLS SVP of Properties and Events. "We're thrilled many of the league's top players are joining our eMLS participants to compete and also provide benefit for those on the front lines. We are also thankful to FOX Sports and all of our partners for their collaboration on the innovative series that will be both fun to watch and make a difference."
"We are thrilled to partner with MLS on this innovative project, which will entertain viewers during this difficult time while also helping to support COVID 19 relief efforts," said Joe Franzetta, FOX Sports VP, Rights & Business Relationships. "With the perfect combination of the talented team hosting the event and the fan-favorite MLS and eMLS players, it will be exciting to watch this series come to life."
In retrospect, this honestly isn't that bad of an idea to help promote both Major League Soccer and the esports equivalent in the eMLS. You're giving people some interesting soccer matchups, you're promoting the brand for when it returns, you promoting the game for people at home wanting something to occupy their time. It's a win in every direction, except for maybe those who want the genuine article and can't get it right now. We'll see how fans respond tot he new tournament in the weeks to come.