MLS announces competitive FIFA esports league with EA Sports

FIFA 18 eMLS- MLS club logos

FIFA 18 eMLS- MLS club logos

Major League Soccer is partnering with EA Sports to create an esports organization for Federation Internationale de Football Association 18's worldwide gaming competition, the sports league announced today.

EA and Major League Soccer have teamed up for a Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 esports league appropriately named eMLS. Each club will pursue its own process to select a player from its region to represent it in eMLS competitive play.

"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. The organizers of eMLS are leaving that process up to the individual clubs; each one will figure out its own method of selecting a Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 pro "from its region". Toronto, whose eteam will be known as the Raptors Uprising Gaming Club (GC), is one of 17 teams that have signed up for the virtual hoops league. With only one esports athlete per eMLS club, rather than a roster of multiple players, it's unclear whether the league has a standard contingency plan in case a club's sole representative is unable to compete for some reason.

The NBA has already started qualifying for gamers hoping to be part of the NBA 2K League when it tips off in May. The owners of the squads in those esports organizations are often billionaires or corporations, and they provide their athletes with salaries, benefits and housing.

FIFA 18 eMLS- club logos

The first games of the eMLS cup will debut at this year's PAX East in April.

This will all feed into the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association eWorld Cup which will take place in August and feature the best players from all around the world. The eMLS Cup victor will earn a guaranteed playoff spot in the Global Series.

"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 Federation Internationale de Football Association players around the world", MLS Business Ventures President and Managing Director Gary Stevenson said in a statement.