After being forced to suspend the 2020 season due to COVID-19, Major League Soccer announced that they will be hosting an esports tournament starting on Sunday. The move follows the lead of the NBA, NASCAR, and MLB, all of which are staging or have staged virtual contests.
The eMLS Tournament Special will pair an esports player with a member of an MLS team to play FIFA 20 Global Series by EA Sports. 16 Major League Soccer teams will participate in the eMLS Tournament Special.
The five-week competition runs from April 19th to May 17th. Four teams will compete each week and the weekly winners will face off in the May 17th championship tournament. Both the MLS players and their eSports counterparts will be competing from home.
Network partners FS1 And Fox Deportes will air matches during the monthlong series. Fox Sports commentators Rachel Bonnetta, Rodolfo Landeros, and Stu Holden will call the games. The games will likely air in Canada on Sportsnet with details still pending at press time.
Fox Sports and MLS Works, which is Major League Soccer’s platform for social responsibility, will be donating funds to Feeding America on behalf of the winning football club. MLS will also support Food Banks Canada.
The eMLS Tournament Special is expected to feature D.C. United’s Paul Arriola, LA Galaxy’s Adama Diomande, Atlanta United’s Franco Escobar, FC Cincinnati’s Kendall Waston, Chicago Fire’s Francisco Calvo, New England Revolution’s Diego Fagundez, LAFC’s Javier Chicharito Hernandez, NYCFC’s Sean Johnson, Sporting Kansas City’s Wan Kuzain, New York Red Bulls’ Aaron Long, Minnesota United’s Tyler Miller, Orlando City’s Nani, FC Dallas’ Fafa Picault, Houston Dynamo’s Memo Rodriguez, Toronto FC’s Marky Delgado, and Whitecaps’ Erik Godoy.
The eMLS Tournament Special kicks off at 7pm ET on Sunday, April 19th, with the Chicago Fire battling FC Cincinnati.