Premier League footballers about to join esports tournament
The latest of several sports leagues to go “e”, the Premier League, is setting up an esports tournament. Previously, Formula 1, MotoGP and similar events have already taken this step – often with their top athletes participating in the esports events, alongside pro esports players and even some celebrities.
Now, representatives from each of the Premier League teams are going to participate in a FIFA 20 game between today and the 25th of April. If you want to watch, you’ll be able to do so on Sky Sports as well as on the social channels of the Premier League.
A cool line-up
Confirmed participants include Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander, Arnold Sissoko, and Moussa Sissoko, as well as celeb musician Tom Grennan, who’ll be playing to represent Manchester United. A total of 20 players will be facing each other in a series of draw matches.
Probably one of the most anticipated games will be one happening on the 22nd – Manchester United’s Tom Grennan versus Trent Alexander from Liverpool. Of course, there are plenty of other interesting pairings as well – after all, with popular team reps battling it out virtually, there is a lot of action to be expected.
All matches are single elimination – the winners will be paired up again and again until a winner is determined on the 25th.
🚨 Announcing the #ePremierLeague Invitational 🚨
🗓 Starts on 21 April
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 17, 2020
A hiatus for the league
The regular Premier League is currently on an indefinite hiatus, so for fans, this is the closest to real match-ups they’ll get in the near future. Of course, there’s always the option of re-watching old games, but it’s certainly more fun to see Premier League players participate in a different type of game.
You can even watch these games internationally – in addition to Sky Sports channels, they will also be aired on NBCSN in the US, and on select Twitch and YouTube pages. FIFA-fans will know that this isn’t the first football esports tournament featuring ‘real’ pros – MLS recently ran a tournament that saw pro soccer players competing.
Other sports leagues like the NBA have also joined in, and in the coming week, the NHL will also join the fray.
It seems that for now, almost all sports leagues that have been put on hold are moving towards esports – a sensible move, given that this is a great way to keep up fan engagement while respecting social distancing rulings.
Whether this type of event and specifically the Premier League esports event will continue happening when the main leagues are back up and operational remains to be seen – it will likely depend on fan engagement and reactions.
There is every chance this could become a fixture in the esports (and trad sports) world – it’ll be a few months before we can really know, though. Previous events have seen fantastic responses, so this tragedy might just end up being a real watershed moment for sports, esports, and their fans.