MLS recently announced, with its partner EA Sports, they would be creating their own FIFA eSports league dubbed “eMLS”. With 19 of the 23 MLS teams participating, each team will be selecting a representative to compete in their honor and battle it out at various events across the country.
FIFA 18 boasted 1.6 million users at its peak on its opening weekend. FIFA games in the past have drawn in a massive base. This presents an opportunity for MLS to connect with the digitally savvy millennial and Gen Z audiences. Something to note, the average age of the MLS fan is 40 (the lowest of any other US sport), couple that with the average age of esports players being 24-27, MLS seems to be in a prime position to capitalize on the esports phenomenon. Additionally, eSports, in particular, continue to grow at a blistering rate with revenues at $1.5bn expected by 2020. So there is money to be made through this new venture.
“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 millions of FIFA players around the world,” said MLS Business Ventures President and Managing Director, Gary Stevenson.
In the United States, soccer fandom is growing, and the excitement is ever present. For MLS, this means opportunity and chances to capitalize on new markets and demographics With eSports growing at an equally rapid rate, this is the perfect opportunity to inspire fans and to connect new fans with the sport we love.