EA has announced the launch of the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series, the company’s most ambitious and accessible foray into football esports to date. Millions of players from more than 60 countries are expected to take part in the season-long event, which serves as an official countdown to the 2020 FIFA eWorld Cup. Moreover, over $3 million in prize money will be up for grabs during the course of the series.
EA has secured the participation of 20 official football leagues from around the world, including the Bundesliga, La Liga and UEFA Champions League, for the FIFA 20 Global Series, with each organization set to host and participate in a number of events. The publisher is banking on the fact that securing the backing of such huge names in the footballing world will lead to an increase in participation and viewership year-on-year.
A major beneficiary of such increased exposure will be the esports betting industry. The total amount wagered on esports events is expected to top $12.9 billion by 2020, and EA’s efforts to position FIFA 20 as a legitimate esports title will see mainstream bookmakers offer an increasing number of betting markets related to its various Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup events. Indeed, esports betting has been heralded by many insiders as being the biggest opportunity for future growth, as the industry increasingly gains legitimacy as it moves away from the skin gambling controversies that plagued it a few years ago.
Mainstream betting operators and affiliates continue to cement esports wagering as a viable product offering by listing odds on a number of different popular titles and events. FIFA is one of the fastest-growing esports in the betting industry, with all of its major tournaments being followed by mainstream sportsbooks over the past 12 months. Mohammed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous defied odds of 14/1 to claim the $250,000 eWorld Cup title last year, demonstrating the game’s potential value to bettors. As the season rolls on, it will be worth keeping an eye on the latest and best betting deals & offers as major sportsbooks step up their preparations for the 2020 edition.
In a statement, FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner, Brent Koning said: “The EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series is the most inclusive esports competition on the planet. Anyone can become a superstar and the opportunity to do so has accelerated with the more than 20 official league partners now in the mix. This connection to global sport drives viewer intrigue, and that positions us well for surpassing last year’s 800 million minutes of EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series content watched.”
While the eWorld Cup will prove to be the centrepiece as far as both esports viewership and betting goes, EA hopes that its partnerships will retain the interest of users throughout the course of the year, with The Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups, FIFA eNations Cup and FIFA eClub World Cup all set to take place over the coming months.
EA has been keen to remove as many barriers to entry as possible, with registration for the FIFA 20 Global Series open to all. Players can secure potential invitations to various online qualifier tournaments by attaining an Elite 1 ranking in FUT Weekend League (winning 27 matches in a single weekend) and becoming FUT Champions Verified.
The FIFA 20 Global Series officially kicks off on November 8 with the first of six FIFA Ultimate Team Champions Cups.