EA Sports has announced a deal tying its FIFA series in with the English Premier League for an upcoming esports tournament.
The ePremier League will see all 20 top flight teams from the English game represented, with the ePL final to be broadcast on Sky Sports and via EPL social media. The tournament proper will kick off January of 2019.
Todd Sitrin, senior VP and GM of EA’s competitive gaming division, said of the deal: “The Premier League's global reach and intensely passionate fanbase pushes EA Sports FIFA competition to unprecedented heights as we accelerate esports growth through traditional sports.
“Through the ePL, this partnership carves a critical path forward in expanding competition not only for players, but for the hundreds of millions watching Premier League games who now can support their club on the virtual and the traditional pitch.”
Meanwhile, EA Sports has said it is ‘closely monitoring’ the situation surrounding Juventus player and FIFA 19 cover star Cristiano Ronaldo, who is being investigated by Las Vegas police over a rape allegation.
In an email to Reuters, an EA rep said: “We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo. We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA's values.”
Part of said monitoring seems to involve quietly removing Ronaldo from promotional websites – he can’t be removed from the already-released (and underperforming at retail) game, but there’s a telling lack of the footballing superstar on EA Sports’ FIFA site.
A cursory glance back in time shows there was definitely a bit more of the cover star just a few days ago.