About Esports

Esports History, Format, Organization, Media Coverage

Esports, or eSports, stands for electronic sports and is the world of competitive video gaming. Competitors, commonly referred to as pro players, take part in structured tournaments for certain games as either individuals or in teams, battling it out for a trophy and often huge prize money.

FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, also known as PES, being the two most popular football simulator video games, are known titles among the eSports scene. Players build their Ultimate Team, a squad that can consist of both active players and retired icons from across the globe, to compete in contests.

For example, Konami, the makers of PES, stage the eFootball.Pro tournament which is exclusive to pro-players that belong to and represent real-world clubs. In the form of the UEFA eEuro 2020 tournament contested via Playstation 4, Pro Evolution Soccer hosted the largest efootball contest in the world by gathering representatives of Europe's 55 national football associations.

Elsewhere, Electronic Arts, the makers of the FIFA franchise, hold several eSoccer tournaments in partnership with the beautiful game's leading leagues and organizations.

The FIFA eWorld Cup, previously known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup, is one example of the gaming industry's global impact. It entered into the Guinness World Records in 2010 as the largest online eSports game. In 2016, the FIFA eWorld Cup final was aired on TV for the first time. Having only been streamed on Twitch and FIFA TV on YouTube previously, this edition made it on to the screens in more than 100 countries, with Fox Sports 1 broadcasting it live in the USA.

Football’s world governing body founded this competition back in 2004 and has seen it grown tremendously in popularity, with its success leading to the creation of the FIFA eClub World Cup, a separate eSports event that sees the world’s best efootball clubs and organizations battle it out for the eClub World Cup title.

Major League Soccer is another top league that stages an eSport tournament in partnership with EA. The eMLS Cup season is held annually and acts as an official qualifier for the eFIFA World Cup. In 2020, the tournament saw its number of participants rise to 25 as three new clubs -- LAFC, Austin FC, and Nashville -- made the roster. In April 2020, an eMLS Special Tournament was announced in which Major League Soccer footballers and eMLS pro players teamed up for a five-week nationally-televised FIFA 20 tournament during the coronavirus pandemic.

In England, the FA followed suit by launching the ePL Invitational tournament to keep fans entertained and engaged as the global coronavirus pandemic halted the 2019/20 English Premier League. The one-week EA Sports FIFA 20 competition received wide coverage with live streaming accessible on the Premier League's social media pages as well as its website and app. Sky Sports' Twitter and Youtube channels were also part of the broadcasting platforms.

Social media indeed plays a huge role in eSports’ popularity, namely Twitch. The video live streaming service has allowed pro players and non-pro players alike to stream live gameplay and build a huge following -- Richard “Ninja” Blevins, former first-person shooter pro turned streamer, is the most popular example. YouTube and Facebook Live also contribute heavily to the eSports scene, offering players the right platform to help them grow an online following and promote high-level gameplay, as influencers, to a wide audience.

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