Major League Soccer is teaming up with domestic broadcast partner Fox Sports to create a new esports competition, which is designed to help fill the sports competition void amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
MLS teams had played just two games before the season was suspended because of the health crisis last month. The eMLS Cup was also called off due to the coronavirus crisis. The league is hoping to play as many games as possible if and when action returns, and could push back the MLS Cup final to December.
In the meantime, MLS has created the eMLS Tournament Special, which will be participated in by both MLS and eMLS players. Among the competitors are Los Angeles Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Orlando City’s Nani, and New York Red Bulls’ Aaron Long.
MLS players will team up with the eMLS professional from their club in the 16-team EA Sports’ FIFA 20 competition, which will be remotely contested, with competitors playing from their homes.
In two-legged matches, MLS players will compete in the first legs and eMLS professionals will take part in the second legs. The club with the best aggregate score will progress to the next round of the knockout tournament.
It runs from April 19-May 17 and will be broadcast on cable network FS1 and the Spanish-language Fox Deportes on Sunday evenings. Coca-Cola and PlayStation will be presenting partners. There is also a charity element which will include donations to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada on behalf of winning clubs.
Other properties developing similar gaming efforts include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, Nascar, LaLiga, Formula 1, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, IndyCar and Major League Rugby, among others.