Major League Soccer unveiled part of its esports blueprint Friday, with 19 clubs looking to face off to decide the best "FIFA 18" video gamer in North America.
All the MLS teams save Atlanta United, D.C. United, Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake are taking part in the inaugural eMLS Cup at PAX East, a gaming show set for April 5-8 in Boston. At the start, 19 of the 23 MLS clubs will participate in eMLS: Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
EA has already had great success with its competitive "Madden NFL" series, with its gaming circuit boasting a purse of US$1.153 million.
Further details on eMLS Cup, including team announcements and tournament structure, will be shared as the competition draws closer.
"This step forward into competitive gaming is a key component in our partnership with EA Sports to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and millions of Federation Internationale de Football Association players around the world", said MLS Business Ventures President and Managing Director, Gary Stevenson.
The NHL is expected to announce its esports plans soon.
"We're honored to partner with MLS within the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series as we continue to help grow competitive gaming and soccer in North America", Todd Sitrin, the senior vice president and general manager of the competitive gaming division at EA, said in a press statement.
New York City was the first MLS team to sign an esports player in Chris Holly (for PlayStation 4).
MLS, the top level of professional soccer in the US and Canada, joins Australia's A-League as real-world leagues that have pledged to create esports counterparts for the road to the Federation Internationale de Football Association eWorld Cup.
The hit Federation Internationale de Football Association video game franchise is developed at EA's Vancouver-area studio.