ESL signs strategic partnership with PUBG Mobile
ESL, the sports promoter owned by Sweden's Modern Times Group, has signed a multi-faceted partnership with PUBG Mobile, the popular esports title.
The two will work together on establishing a series of competitions and series' during the remainder of 2020, leading up a World Championships final at the end of the year.
During that grand finale, players will compete for a total prize sum of $1 million.
ESL becomes a PUBG Mobile commercial partner, and will work to “enhance media rights as well as solidifying brand partnerships”, according to a statement.
Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, the president and chief executive of MTG, said: “This is a strategically important cooperation for ESL with one of the strongest publishers in gaming and esports worldwide, and shows our business continuity plan.”
Elsewhere, US soccer’s second-tier United Soccer League will launch its first esports tournament on 31 March, in the absence of real-life action.
The tournament will be called the USL eCup, and will last until 24 April, featuring a group stage followed by knockout matches, involving the 32 clubs from the USL Championship, and the 32 teams from USL League One.
These clubs will be represented by players, team ambassadors and fans, via the Rocket League game.
While various soccer leagues have set up esports competitions in the last week, as the coronavirus led to real-life action being suspended indefinitely, these have predominantly been through the FIFA20 soccer game. USL’s competition will instead be played through Rocket League, a vehicular-based game which only loosely resembles soccer.
The matches will be shown live on Twitch, the streaming site widely used by gamers. As a result, USL will be launching its own Twitch account.
Ryan Madden, USL’s vice-president of communications, said the new league would target “the average soccer fan who hasn’t perhaps consumed esports before… Our sole mission for this tournament is to provide lightness and levity for USL supporters across the country.”
USL is reportedly not expecting to derive substantial revenue from the tournment, but does anticipate potential future tie-ins with sponsors as the tournament progresses.