Relevent Sports, LaLiga, and Uninterrupted create players-only esports tournament

Allie Long (Credit: Getty Images)

Relevent Sports Group has partnered with LaLiga and LeBron James’s media company Uninterrupted to create a players-only esports soccer competition featuring athletes from a variety of sports.

Sixteen professional athletes from across the National Basketball Association, National Football League, LaLiga and the National Women’s Soccer League will take part in the Kick Covid Fifa 20 tournament.

Confirmed participants are: Chad Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals), DeAndre Hopkins (Arizona Cardinals), Damarious Randall (Las Vegas Raiders), Willy Hernangómez (Charlotte Hornets), Clint Capela (Atlanta Hawks), John Collins (Atlanta Hawks), Allie Long (USWNT, OL Reign), Lisa Zimouche (LisaFreestyle, Soccer Freestyler, former PSG Academy), Álvaro Morata (Atlético Madrid), Borja Iglesias (Real Betis), Munir Hadaddi (Sevilla FC), Jose Luis Gayà (Valencia CF), Pau Torres (Villarreal CF), Allan Nyom (Getafe CF), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), and Fernando Morientes (former Real Madrid legend).

The tournament is a joint project between LaLiga North America, Uninterrupted, and the Women’s International Champions Cup. Relevent Sports operates the International Champions Cup men’s and women’s tournaments, and jointly runs LaLiga North America along with LaLiga.

It will take place on April 25-26 and raise funds amid the global Covid-19 pandemic for the Feeding America charity. The knockout competition will feature eight, two-athlete teams comprised of one LaLiga player with one NFL, NBA or NWSL player. Each team will play two 12-minute matches with the aggregate score determining the winner.

The tournament will be available on LaLiga’s Twitch channel and social-media platforms, Uninterrupted’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter platforms, ICC social channels, and across more than 30 LaLiga broadcasters around the world, including beIN Sports in the US. Broadcasters include Jimmy Conrad, Melissa Ortiz and Phil Schoen.

Relevent Sports chief executive Daniel Sillman said: “This partnership between Uninterrupted, LaLiga North America and the Women’s International Champions Cup allows us to continue promoting international football, while raising money for such an important and essential cause. We continue to build the global WICC platform and move the game forward by bringing the top clubs and players from Europe closer to North American fans.”

Maverick Carter, Uninterrupted’s chief executive, added: “This moment we are living has proven just how connected we all are, and our love of sports, transcends leagues and teams and countries. This tournament is a unique opportunity for the NBA and NFL athletes we work so closely with to connect with players and fans from across the world, while also doing good here at home, and for our audience to see the biggest names in Spanish football in a whole new light.”

“LaLiga has always been an engine for positive change, and with this initiative we are looking to bring together the best athletes from around the world, to compete, inspire, and help during an unprecedented period of difficulty and uncertainty,” said LaLiga North America CEO Boris Gartner. “We all share a passion for storytelling through sports and couldn’t be more thrilled to engage with both existing and new fans in North America”.

The 2020 International Champions Cup men’s tournament was called off by Relevent Sports early this month due to the coronavirus crisis.

A litany of other sports properties have also created esports events, involving athletes from their respective sports, professional gamers, or celebrities, to help fill the competition void during the ongoing sports industry hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among them are Nascar, Major League SoccerMajor League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, LaLiga, Formula 1Monumental Sports & Entertainment, IndyCarMajor League Rugby, and the English Premier League, among others.