The TV network BT Sport has agreed to show competitive FIFA 17 games in the UK later this year.
Last year rival channels Sky and ITV partnered with Ginx TV to show eSports on a specialist channel which broadcasts 24 hours a day. Globally and domestically participation in eSports is on the rise, FIFA is played by thousands across the nation and now they will get a chance to see some of the best players in the world show off their skill.
BT had to move fast to stake a claim in an rapidly growing industry and capitalise on the rise in popularity of competitive gaming.
The network will focus on broadcasting the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series and the remaining four EA FIFA Majors including the final in Berlin.
The winner of the FIFA UT Championship series stands to win over £130,00, which in terms of eSports prize money is relatively minor. Games like League of Legends, Dota 2 & Counter Strike can have seven-figure grand prizes.
However its easy to see the attraction for gamers and now for broadcasters to offer a service and cater to an ever growing fan base. Players compete against each other in regional, national and international leagues drawing fans from all over the globe. Professional gaming has historically been streamed online over services like Twitch and this deal is another step that signals competitive gaming is becoming more mainstream.
Simon Green, Head of BT Sport commented ‘This is yet another example of live innovation from BT Sport.’
Competitive interactive football gaming is a rapidly growing industry
Other than the final in Berlin, BT has won the rights to the North American Regional Final in Vancouver on April 8, Asia-Pacific Regional Final in Singapore on April 22, and the European Regional Final in Madrid on May 6th.
EA Sports, the developers of FIFA are just as excited for the expansion of eSports and the new deal with BT Sport. Todd Sitrin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA’s Competitive Gaming Division, said ‘We’re thrilled to be partnering with BT Sport to make our exciting competitions for EA SPORTS FIFA’.
There’s a profound opportunity for competitive gaming to achieve mainstream success and the key to accomplishing this is accessibility.
Deputy Editor & Social Media Specialist