UEFA are expanding their esports ambitions and have announced the eEuro 2020 Championships. The upcoming UEFA 2020 European Championships will be a little different to previous editions. Instead of having one or two countries host all matches as has been traditional in the past, UEFA Euro 2020 will be played in 12 cities across 12 different countries.
From Dublin, Ireland to Baku on the Eastern frontier, next summer’s pan-European UEFA 2020 European Championships will be like no other before. However, Euro 2020 will be notable for another reason. 2020 will see the first ever parallel staging of the inaugural European ‘eFootball’ championships, or the UEFA eEuro 2020 Championships.
This should come as no surprise as UEFA, like several other sporting governing bodies, sees esports as an easy way to engage with younger fans, new audiences and generate new revenue streams. The “eChampions League” tournament already exists, played out on EA Sport’s FIFA video game series. However the eEuro 2020 Championships has instead partnered with Japanese publisher Konami’s long-running PES series for its national team equivalent.
In a press release following the announcement, UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein had this to say: “eFootball is played by tens of millions of people across the continent and we are delighted to give competitors from our national associations the chance to represent their country on the biggest stage … We have seen massive growth in the popularity of eFootball over the past few years and the eEURO 2020 will give us the opportunity to connect with new and existing fans of national-team football”.
The format of eEuro 2020 Championships will reflect that of the real-life Euro Championships. 55 national associations will be required to select a squad of between two and four players to represent their country, and take part in a qualifying phase starting in November of 2019. Events taking place until the real Euro 2020 Championships taking place in July 2020.
The finals will take place on July 9th and 10th, just before the final of the real tournament at Wembley Stadium on July 12th. The eventual victors of the competition will receive a cash prize as well as tickets to the Euro 2020 final itself.
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