Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced a new partnership with EA Sports to create its own esports league, dubbed eMLS, which will be tied to the worldwide competition for Federation Internationale de Football Association 18. eMLS will feature 19 of MLS's 23 clubs, with each real-world team selecting a professional gamer to represent them in competition.
Major League Soccer announced eMLS Friday, its own esports competition featuring nineteen MLS clubs participating at the outset. The eMLS league will only feature players from the US and Canada, and a number of real MLS teams will be hosting their own eMLS clubs.
The news is yet more proof of esport becoming a mainstream attraction.
The Major League Soccer has 23 teams - 20 from U.S. and 3 from Canada but only 19 teams are taking part in the eMLS Cup. Those teams will also be responsible for selecting local talent to represent the team in the eMLS.
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"We are excited to unveil eMLS", Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures said in a press release.
MLS setting up a competitive gaming league follows the lead of a number of soccer leagues that have already done the same.
All the MLS teams save Atlanta United, D.C. United, Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake are taking part in the inaugural eMLS Cup at PAX East, a gaming show set for April 5-8 in Boston. Do you have the skills to compete for your team in the eMLS? The Philadelphia Flyers have already partnered with WorldGaming for the Snider Hockey Cup, a North American championship whose finals are in March. That event will determine the USA and Canada qualifiers to the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs for a berth to August's FIFA eWorld Cup, which was recently announced.