Electronic Arts‘ EA Sports and FIFA are launching a new esports competition and media event, dubbed the EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup. The tournament will have a $3 million prize pool. The idea is to enhance enthusiasm for the soccer game’s esports competition and entertainment for players and viewers alike.
“We’re super excited. Our competitive gaming is in our third full year,” said Todd Sitrin, the senior vice president for competitive gaming at Electronic Arts, in an interview with GamesBeat at the Esports BAR Miami event on Wednesday. “And the size of the competition has gotten to is been pretty amazing for me, given when we started. Last year we did about 800 million minutes watched. This year we’re projecting it will be over 60 countries of players from around the world.”
He added, “Competitive gaming is a strategic priority for EA and that’s why we’ve been making the investments. We now have investments in competitive gaming across five different franchises, and FIFA is the biggest.”
EA will describe the details of the tournament on its Twitch channel at 11 a.m. Pacific time today.
“The EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series is the most inclusive esports competition on the planet,” said FIFA competitive gaming commissioner Brent Koning, in a statement. “Anyone can become a superstar and the opportunity to do so has accelerated with the more than 20 official league partners now in the mix. This connection to global sport drives viewer intrigue, and that positions us well for surpassing last year’s 800 million minutes of EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series content watched.”
Kicking off November 8 with the first of six FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) Champions Cups, the EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series will feature a bunch of new things:
Brand new features like Friendly Competition will simplify online qualifying and the launch of Global Series Masters will ensure FUT Champions Cup winners are guaranteed an opportunity to defend their title at the next FUT Champions Cup.
More than 20 of the world’s biggest official soccer leagues (33% year-over-year increase) including the UEFA Champions League, Austrian Bundesliga, Bundesliga, Danish Superliga, ePremier League, Eredevisie, La Liga, Ligue 1, MLS, Norwegian Elite Serien, Polish Ekstraklasa, Saudi Professional League, Swedish Allsvenskan, Ukrainian Premier League, and Czech First League. More will be announced in the coming months.
Here’s more details:
- The Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup: To qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup 2020, competitors must earn enough EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series Ranking Points to qualify for one of the 128 (64 per platform) seats at the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series Playoffs. Competitors earn points through their performances at marquee live events, which players can qualify through their online performance. Then, the top 16 ranked players each on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One will advance to the FIFA eWorld Cup where an EA Sports FIFA 20 World Champion will be crowned.
- FUT Champions Cups: There are six FUT Champions Cups throughout the season with the first taking place on November 8. FUT Champions Cups are EA Majors, largescale global live events that feature an open qualification format. All competitors have the same path towards FUT Champions Cup glory, and that journey starts first through online competition.
- FIFA eNations Cup: All eligible nations will be able to create a national team in order to take part in the qualification and offer players more opportunities to participate via domestic events. The second year of the annual national team competition will feature a 2v2 team format.
- FIFA eClub World Cup: An enhanced online qualification over a longer time period year-over-year will provide opportunities for clubs all over the world to qualify for the live event. The format will be unique featuring both 1v1 and 2v2 matchups.
“How does the esports industry actually become mass entertainment? Well, it’s going to have to become something that’s more accessible. And one advantage that clearly sports video games have is audience,” Sitrin said. “In the case of FIFA, 4 billion football fans around the world watch the sport today. They know the teams and know the virtual players on the field. And there are also brands all across the world who have already feel comfortable making investment in the sport of football. So that takes down a lot of the barriers to getting to mass market because of the familiarity.”