The esports version of the Champions League will be launching in 2019 with a $280,000 prize pool FIFA 19 tournament by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
The tournament will kick off with knockout tournaments across the globe from March 2 to 3, with 64 players set to move on to a live qualifier in April. The Top 8 finishers in the qualifier will then face off in the tourney finals in Madrid on May 31 – a day before the finals of the Champions League itself.
Those eight finalists will draft and use footballers involved in the Uefa Champions League group stage and will represent their respective clubs, with the winner taking home the lion’s share of $100,000.
“It creates a unique opportunity for the competitive FIFA superstars to represent their clubs in the pinnacle of club football,” said EA Sports gaming chief Brent Koning.
The tournament is already accessible on the PlayStation 4, one of the platforms for FIFA 19, and will be part of the ongoing Fifa 19 Global Series. The Global Series acts as the game’s overarching league for global tournaments and events, culminating in the FIFA eWorld Cup. In August last year, Saudi Arabia’s Mosaad “Msdossary” Aldossar was the last one standing against more than 20 million competitors to win the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup.
“We see the eChampions League and competitive FIFA as an important step in connecting with existing and new fans of the UEFA Champions League,” added Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director.
The world of Football has been crossing over more and more into esports as of late, with clubs such as Ajax, Schalke, and Paris St-Germain having already made their mark. Football-playing countries such as France, Germany, Australia, and the United States have also established their own football esports leagues. England is set to join them by January next year, as Manchester City already led the way by acquiring its own esports players this year.