Major League Soccer (MLS) and EA SPORTS have announced an expansion to the eMLS competition, adding in three teams to feature a total of 22 MLS clubs for the new season.
Atlanta United, D.C. United, and FC Cincinnati have all joined the competitive FIFA series for the first time. The 19 teams that competed in the 2018 season will all return.
James Ruth, Senior Director of Properties and Events at Major League Soccer discussed the expansion: “We were thrilled with the success and excitement in year one of eMLS. Working with our core partners, EA SPORTS and PlayStation, we are creating more opportunities for our players to compete and our fans to engage with eMLS in 2019. eMLS League Series presented by PlayStation and the rest of our 2019 programming will push us closer to our goal of blurring the lines between traditional and digital soccer, while further elevating eMLS in the global FIFA competitive gaming community.”
The 2019 eMLS League Series will be made up of two events: eMLS League Series One hosted with LA Galaxy and eMLS League Series Two with FC Dallas. The former will take place in January, whereas the latter will be hosted in February. Both of the events will see all eMLS clubs get involved, determining the seeding for the 2019 eMLS Cup.
Brent Koning, FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner at EA SPORTS added: “The eMLS is an accelerant to growing fandom in North America through the increasing connection between virtual and real-world soccer. Our partnership with the MLS and the 22 eMLS clubs elevates competitive FIFA through the power of sports and esports, and provides an engaging platform to attract new fans, sponsors and partners to the game.”
The eMLS is an official league partner of the FIFA 19 Global Series; players who compete in the eMLS Cup will obtain points for the Global Series Playoffs.
Esports Insider says: It’s good to see more football clubs getting involved with the eMLS, potentially leading to more traditional football fans tuning in to the FIFA competition. More and more football teams, leagues, and competitions are entering esports, but it’s great to see an existing competition such as the eMLS increase its offering.