FC Cincinnati’s Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry celebrates after winning the 2020 eMLS League Series One championship
GAMING & ESPORTS

eMLS is Back: Major League Soccer Esports League Confirms 2022 Schedule

27 professional EA Sports FIFA 22 gamers representing Major League Soccer clubs will kick off the new eMLS season in January 2022.

On Tuesday, Major League Soccer and EA Sports announced the competitive schedule and competition details regarding the 2022 season of eMLS. The campaign will start in January of 2022 with 27 professional EA Sports FIFA players representing an MLS club. Each team representative will compete for a title and a $75,000 prize pool, the largest for the eMLS yet.

The new season will see Charlotte FC join eMLS in parallel with its entry into Major League Soccer, and for the first time, all participating clubs will stream each of their eMLS season qualifying matches on their respective official social channels. This aims to provide clubs with new competitive content representing up to a record-setting 350 hours of live coverage.

“We are excited to witness top-tier competition in eMLS this season,” said Sam Turkbas, EA Sports FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner, in an official statement. “The eMLS consistently builds upon its success annually, introducing new ways for fans and players to engage with their favorite clubs. MLS is a phenomenal league partner, and as a global leader in EA Sports FIFA competition, continues to showcase the love of football that is enhanced through esports entertainment.”

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Competition will take place on EA Sports’ FIFA 22 and will be played exclusively on the PlayStation 5. Fans will be able to tune in to all eMLS competitions starting Jan. 15. The league has also said if pandemic conditions allow the eMLS could return to in-person competition hosted at MLS club stadiums.

Cities that are currently planning to play host Cincinnati, Chicago, and Austin, where the marquee event of the season, eMLS Cup, will be an official event at South by Southwest. 

There are three tournaments planned for the eMLS this season. The first is the League Series One on January 16, 2022 in Cincinnati, the second will be the eMLS at Soldier Field and the House of Blues in Chicago and the final event — the 2022 eMLS Cup — will take place in March at SXSW in Austin, Texas. 

Coca-Cola, Cheez-It, Pringles, JLab, and PlayStation will return as official partners of eMLS. Coca-Cola will serve as the official soft drink/water partner of the league. Cheez-It and Pringles are serving as the official snack partners and presenting partner of Player Lounges at all three official events. JLab will be the official audio and microphone partner of the eMLS, while and PlayStation will be the official console.

“When it came to South by Southwest and the direction we wanted to take, it came down to being more cutting edge, digitally savvy, being more tech-centric but also leaning into more culture and music, SXSW was the perfect blend,” said Bion West, the MLS’ senior manager in an interview. “Now being an official partner of SXSW it will be great for badge holders to go check out the eMLS. It will also be great for people in and around the city of Austin. Austin FC is a new MLS club that is down there in Austin so we’ll be working with them to make the event exciting.”

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