The Singapore Premier League (SPL) has announced the inaugural season of the eSPL, the league’s own football video game tournament.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has partnered with Redd+E Sports, Zenway Productions and The Gym to organise the tournament.
All eight Singapore-based teams from the Singapore Premier League will compete in the eSPL. Two representatives from each club will “pit their skills” in eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. The league hopes to capitalise on the game’s built-in editing mode to appear more aesthetically unique. All eight teams will be dressed in their actual team jerseys, with players and officials accurately represented.
Jonathan Wong, Director of Commercial and Marketing at the Football Association of Singapore, spoke on the venture in a release: “With Covid-19 having curtailed our plans for the 25th anniversary season, the introduction of the eSPL is a timely one which will allow football fans to catch some sporting action featuring players from our SPL while waiting for the resumption of the league. Great effort has been put into localising the look of the teams so that SPL fans can have a stronger sense of association to their favourite teams when watching the games.”
Group stage games for the eSPL begin on July 11th, with the knockout stage taking place across July 18-19th. Group stage games, the semifinals, grand finals, women’s tournament, and celebrity grudge match will all be broadcast on on Singtel TV, StarHub TV, meWATCH, and SPL’s Facebook page.
Yip Ren Kai, Co-founder and Managing Director of Redd+E, added: “As local boys, we are always looking at ideas to value add to the sports communities in Singapore, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. We are delighted to partner the FAS in this initiative to bring the SPL closer to the fans through esports. Coupled with the ability to replicate the SPL teams’ outfits on PES and to get footballers to represent their respective clubs in this tournament, we hope that it will bring existing fans closer tot he clubs and also to interest new fans in the SPL.”
Esports Insider says: Just like other sports leagues, the SPL is taking advantage of the resiliency of esports to get things done despite the pandemic. It’s a smart way to ignite interest for both sports and esports fans as the league’s strategy to expand into more online tournaments in the future begins.