It is not a great surprise that football attracts a huge amount of attention. After all, the sport is full of big-name stars, high-profile clashes between clubs and great action including stunning goals.
However, it is not just the real-life game that is generating plenty of interest these days. The sport is one of several which have been successfully adapted into the world of video gaming and it also has a rising profile in the competitive domain of eSports.
Hitting new heights
The eSports industry has enjoyed major growth in recent years and all of the signs point to this continuing in the years ahead. For example, data cited by Statista suggests that the total revenues generated by the sector globally will reach $1.6 billion in 2023.
However, while eSports has become synonymous with titles such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, FIFA is beginning to really make a name for itself in the area. This was highlighted by the success of the recent EA Sports FIFA 21 Challenge, which reportedly became EA’s most-watched eSports event. According to SportsProMedia, the one-day tournament at the end of October had an average minute audience of more than 254,000.
In addition, as Winners.net highlights, FIFA has also become one of the key games which the best bookmaker sites now offer odds on. The site allows users to filter by the eSports markets that brands offer, with FIFA sitting alongside the likes of CS:GO, Apex Legends and Overwatch.
So how has FIFA managed to develop such a growing reputation in the world of eSports? Well, one significant factor may be its strong connection to real-life football.
In fact, the FIFA 21 Challenge was a great example of this, as the competition was based around professional footballers teaming up with eSports players. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold ultimately won the tournament, but others taking part included West Ham’s Declan Rice and Borussia Dortmund star Gio Reyna. There are plenty of other examples of pro footballers taking each other on in high-profile FIFA contests, with another being Jack Grealish and James Maddison’s recent ‘forfeit FIFA’ battle for Sky Sports. The stars played as their respective clubs Aston Villa and Leicester City, with Grealish winning out and getting the chance to send a message from Maddison’s Twitter account.
There are other ways that the world of FIFA and real football are connected, however, as some clubs have taken the step of having their own eSports competitors. For instance, West Ham has several FIFA players on its books, including Curtis ‘Pap’ Poole and Jonas ‘Jonna’ Ghebrehiwot.
Stronger than ever
It is undoubtedly an intriguing time in the world of eSports at the moment, so it is exciting that a title like FIFA is ensuring that football is well-represented within the hugely popular space. The game’s links to real football seem to be stronger than ever at present and it will be interesting to see how that connection continues to evolve in the near future.