ePremier League Invitational Tournament is scheduled to kick off tomorrow, April 21, with the first four games underway from 12:00 BST.
ePremier League Invitational Tournament Gets Underway
The hiatus in traditional sports has pushed many organizations to turn to an alternative. An alternative that has been hiding in plain sight. The English Premier League (EPL) has become the sports body to appreciate the potential esports offer to traditional sports franchises.
After BMW signed five global partnerships last week and the car maker said the company would bring engineers to assist video gamers and give them a better competitive edge, it has become apparent that esports are an important part of the entertainment industry and by extension, sports.
🚨 Announcing the #ePremierLeague Invitational 🚨
🗓 Starts on 21 April
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 17, 2020
On April 21, the ePremier League Invitational Tournament will take place. The event will feature 20 one-man teams from the EPL, which is temporarily on hold. Players will meet in a single elimination bracket and all revenue generated will be donated to the National Health Service.
All events will be streamed on NBCSports.com. This is interesting, given that most esports fans prefer to watch video gaming events on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.
Yet, ePL is also banking on those mainstream esports channels to appeal to younger audiences as well. The tournament will also be available on the Premier League’s official website as well as social media channels.
Raheem Sterling will represent Manchester City in the ePremier League Invitational tournament next week to generate funds for the NHS though the #PlayersTogether initiative.
The semi finals and final will be live on Sky Sports on Saturday 25th April.
— Man City | Superbia (@SuperbiaProeIia) April 18, 2020
Sky Sports’ Twitch and YouTube pages will also cover the event. The semi-finals will also air in the United States with NBCSN taking care of broadcasting the event overseas.
While the event will feature a number of football talents, including Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, it’s important to understand that the soccer players’ prowess in real-life won’t necessarily correspond to their ability with a controller.
The first round is kicking off on Tuesday, April 21 at 12:00 BST through 4:00 BST.
Where to Watch?
- SkySports: YouTube and Twitch
- Premier League: YouTube and Facebook
Virtual Sports Now the Norm
Esports has long been looked down upon by traditional sports fans, but this may be changing now. Many people look favorably upon simulated motorsports, for example. eNASCAR has proven very popular, clocking some 1.3 million viewers across multiple channels.
Given that the traditional viewership is around 3 million this abrupt change has been very refreshing. F1 is also running an esports series to make up for the vacuum left by suspending the regular season for a while. FIFA also pulls an impressive viewership.
In 2019, the FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final was watched by 47 million people and broadcast by 21 partners in 75 territories. Meanwhile, the NFL, NBA, and MLS have all considered and engaged with esports in some form.
They have although audiences still remain modest. Meanwhile, the ePremier League Invitational will hold finals on April 25.
Thumbnail image credit: English Premier League