UEFA and EA Sports, publisher of the FIFA 19 game, have revealed plans to launch an eChampions League, described as “a pivotal tournament expansion to the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series.”
It follows the launch of the ePremier League, which will also be played on the FIFA title next year, and adds to the growing list of global events and competitions on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 next summer.
The eChampions League format will see eligible competitors compete on PlayStation 4 and participate in eChampions League Global Online Knockout tournaments between March 2-3, with the top 64 players advancing to a live qualifying event on April 26-27.
Only eight of the world’s elite will advance from the April live event to the eChampions League Final. Hosted in Madrid on May 31, the eChampions League Final will be played a day before the real-world UEFA Champions League Final on June 1, creating a two-day celebration of digital and traditional football.
To further connect the eChampions League Final to the real-world competition, the eight competitors will draft and use footballers involved in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage. The eChampions League winner will earn a majority $100,000 share of the $280,000 purse and 850 EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Points.
Commenting on the initiative, Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Marketing Director, said: “EA Sports FIFA captivates tens of millions around the world, and our deep integration within the many in-game experiences gives us exciting opportunities to connect the UEFA Champions League to players.
“We see the eChampions League and competitive FIFA as an important step in connecting with existing and new fans of the UEFA Champions League.”
Brent Koning, EA Sports FIFA competitive gaming commissioner, added: “Building an authentic UEFA Champions League competition was the next logical step in the continued EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series expansion for both players and spectators.
“Our passionate competitors love the UEFA Champions League and the eChampions League creates a unique opportunity for the competitive FIFA superstars to represent their clubs in the pinnacle of club football.”
Further integration of the UEFA Champions League into the FIFA game includes in-game features such as the Tournament Mode, while The Journey Champions concludes fictional character Alex Hunter’s journey through his UEFA Champions League participation.
In addition, the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) now features the UEFA Champions League for the first time and incorporates curated experiences throughout the football season.