Following in the footsteps of the NBA, Australian A-League and the recently launched Overwatch League, Major League Soccer has announced the launch of the FIFA 18 e-sports league eMLS today. The U.S. and Canada’s top soccer league will partner with EA Sports to create the organization.
Much like the NBA 2K League, the eMLS will see FIFA 18 pros representing real-life MLS clubs within the league. 19 of the current 23 MLS clubs will be represented in the league.
The current plan is for each team to field one e-sports athlete for competition with no set universal method for teams to select players “from its region.” The small number of roster spots should make for a stiffly competitive audition process, though, speaking with Polygon, an MLS spokesperson said, “some teams may choose to have multiple players represent them.” Regardless of how many players each eMLS team decides to bring in, each team will only be allowed to send one athlete to competitions. It is unclear at this time if eMLS athletes will be full-time employees, similar to Overwatch League and NBA 2K League athletes.
MLS becomes the second major soccer organization to establish an e-sports organization in support of the FIFA eWorld Cup, the concluding event of the FIFA 18 Global Series. The eMLS will factor into the F18GS when they hold their first event, the eMLS Cup, in April at PAX East 2018. The winner of the debut competition earns a guaranteed playoff spot in the F18GS. No details regarding the league’s format or player qualification process have been released at this time.
The eMLS is currently only slated for FIFA 18 competitions, but the level of investment by MLS and the involvement of EA Sports as a partner points to signs that the new league will continue as long new iterations of the game keep coming out yearly.
Check out the launch announcement below.