Electronic Arts has today announced a partnership with the the English Premier League -- the most-watched sports league in the world -- as part of its FIFA 19 esports programme.
The inaugural ePremier League (ePL) tournament is the latest addition to the EA Sports FIFA Global Series, and will offer UK-based players the chance to complete for and represent top-flight football clubs in competitive gaming.
All 20 Premier League clubs are represented in the tournament, and the ePL final will even be broadcast live on Sky Sports and Premier League social media channels.
The ePL tournament kicks off in January 2019 and represents a considerable advancement in the mainstream acceptance of esports.
"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," said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president and general manager of the EA Competitive Gaming Division.
"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."
The final is set to take place in London on March 28-29, 2019. The prize pool has yet to be announced.
Brent Koning, EA Sports FIFA competitive gaming commissioner, added: "The inclusion of the ePL will undoubtedly enhance the player and spectator experience.
"Having the most popular football league in the world commit to competitive gaming in this expansive fashion we believe only accelerates the community's enthusiasm for both FIFA competitive gaming and the Premier League."
You can read our recent interview with Koning on the FIFA eWorld Cup here.