Football Federation Australia (FFA) is launching a new premier esports league in 2018 to connect fans of the FIFA video game series with the Hyundai A-League.
Australia’s best competitive FIFA players across PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms will have a chance to represent top-tier A-League clubs and get a chance for bragging rights of being the best FIFA esports professional player in Australia.
The partnership will see the FFA e-League launch on 1 February 2018, running concurrently with the final nine rounds of the A-League to allow each club to play each other once. The e-League will end in April with a tournament style final event.
Each e-League club will have two competitors, with each A-League club choosing one competitor directly and the second through a draft process, which will invite interested parties to register. The top-tier competitors will be selected for the draft based on their FIFA Ultimate Team rankings and a number of other factors to get the very best talent representing the A-League.
In a press release, FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop said the e-League is the organization’s latest push to connecting new audiences, which includes the sizeable chunk of football video game fanatics in Australia, with the A-League.
As for sponsorships and broadcasting rights on whether we might see the action on television or live streaming sites, FFA Head of Commercial, Marketing and Digital Luke Bould said the FFA was finalising those arrangements for the e-League, and that they already received significant interest in the competition.
“FFA’s strategy is to build a competition that provides FIFA competitors with the ability to represent their favourite Hyundai A-League clubs and create more fans for the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League. This is also a great way to connect the League more globally and in particular, with an Asian audience who love football and FIFA, but may not yet know the Hyundai A-League,” Bould said.
Greg O’Rourke, Head of Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League revealed the FFA has been researching the booming esports industry for over a year in preparation for their e-League launch.
“We have consulted with multiple leagues and clubs around the world, visited hubs in London, and engaged with the French Ligue 1 and other clubs in the Eredivisie and English Premier League.
“In France, the Ligue 1 has been running a competition for two years with great success and we expect many more leagues around the world will follow suit in the very near future.”
The FFA’s move into the esports scene is exciting, but it is not the first of its kind in Australia.
In August, Melbourne City signed local FIFA pro player Marcus Gomes to represent the club at the FIFA Interactive World Cup, which hosts the 32 best FIFA esports players in the world. He will also represent the club next year the e-League.
Two Australian Football League teams – the Adelaide Crows and Essendon Bombers – have also purchased esports teams in a bid to enter the lucrative market ahead of the rest.
FIFA players interested in participating in the e-League can register their interest by using the form over at the official A-League website.