Fifa and EA launch eChallenger Series for Asia

Asian gamers and professional footballers will become team mates when a new Fifa esports series kicks off later this month with competitions in four countries.

Football’s world governing body Fifa and games publisher EA Sports have announced they are working together on the Fifa eChallenger Series for Asia, based on the Fifa Online 4 game.

Teams with football stars, influencers and professional esports players from South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and China will compete in respective national competitions. Four teams of three players from each country will compete, with each match-up consisting of three games – including 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 matches. The initiative replaces previous competition the Fifa eChampions Cup Spring 2020.

The tournament will be held throughout the second half of June and streamed live on Fifa’s gaming platform Fifa.gg.

The dates for the series are: Vietnam, June 25 and 27; Thailand, June 29 and 30; South Korea, June 26-28; and China, June 28-30.

Commenting on the initiative, Simon Thomas, Fifa’s chief commercial officer, said: “For the first time, EA Sports Fifa Online 4 fans across Asia will have the chance to watch and engage directly with their favourite football stars, influencers and esports professionals.”

Asia has been at the core of computer game industry growth in the last five years. Nikko Asset Management recently launched an ETF in Hong Kong to tap into the burgeoning esports and gaming sectors in Asia where they envisage significant growth in the coming years.

Those views are shared by DBS chief investment officer Hou Wey Fook, who recently told SportBusiness, “We believe Covid-19 will accelerate the growth of esports, especially in Asia-Pacific.”