The Premier League and Electronic Arts (EA) have announced the launch of the inaugural ePremier League (ePL) esports tournament.
All 20 clubs from English soccer’s top flight will be represented in the tournament for UK-based gamers. The league becomes the newest partner to the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series and will be operated by esports specialist Gfnity.
The announcement follows that of European rivals the Bundesliga and La Liga, which have both announced the formation of their own esports competitions in the last eight months.
The ePL Final is set to be played in London from 28th to 29th March 2019 and broadcast live on Sky Sports and Premier League social media channels.
Premier League managing director Richard Masters 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. We can’t wait to get started with the opening online rounds in January 2019.”
The ePL esports tournament kicks off in January 2019 with three rounds of online qualifiers, preceding live club play-offs and the eventual live ePL Final. All 20 Premier League clubs will have a live play-off round allowing two competitors, one per platform (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), a shot to advance to the final. Registrations for the tournament will open in December.
Brent Koning, EA Sports FIFA competitive gaming commissioner, added: “The inclusion of the ePL will undoubtedly enhance the player and spectator experience.
“Having the most popular football league in the world commit to competitive gaming in this expansive fashion we believe only accelerates the community’s enthusiasm for both FIFA Competitive Gaming and the Premier League.”