UPDATE: Major League Soccer announced on January 5 that League Series 1 and League Series 2 will be conducted via an online format. Click here for additional changes to the eMLS competitive schedule for the 2022 season and read below for more details.
Major League Soccer (MLS) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) today announced the competitive schedule and details for the 2022 season of eMLS, the official esports league of Major League Soccer. Kicking off in January 2022, the season will feature 27 professional EA SPORTS™ FIFA players, each representing an MLS Club, on the virtual pitch as they compete for their share of the record-setting $75,000 season prize pool.
If ongoing pandemic conditions allow, this year’s eMLS will see a return to in-person competition in Austin, where the marquee event of the season, eMLS Cup, will be an official event of SXSW.
“Coming off our most successful season yet with record-breaking viewership, the 2022 eMLS season will see the return of some of the top EA SPORTS FIFA players in the world,” said Camilo Durana, Senior Vice President of Properties and Events, Major League Soccer. “eMLS continues to enhance and build our relationships with fans through accessible, exciting, and intense competition, which is why we’re thrilled to expand our coverage this upcoming season.”
New this season, Charlotte FC will join eMLS, paving the way for their inaugural MLS season and bringing the total eMLS participation count to 27 Clubs. For the first time, all participating MLS Clubs will stream each of their season qualifying matches on their respective official social channels, providing Clubs with new competitive content representing up to a record-setting 350 hours of live coverage and offering fans more opportunities to watch their favorite eMLS players compete at every tournament stage.
Coca-Cola®, Cheez-It® & Pringles®, JLab, and PlayStation® will return as official partners of eMLS. As the Official Soft Drink/Water Partner of eMLS and presenting partner of all three eMLS season events – League Series 1, League Series 2, and eMLS Cup – Coca-Cola® will be activating digitally as well as on-site. In addition to serving as the Official Snack Partner of eMLS and presenting partner of Player Lounges at all three events, Cheez-It® & Pringles® will present a content series that highlights the unique backgrounds and stories of eMLS players to fans. JLab will return as the Official Audio and Microphone Partner of eMLS, enhancing player performance throughout the season and presenting broadcast segments. PlayStation® will once again be the Official Console of eMLS and will offer fans the opportunity to compete in several online tournaments on its PlayStation Tournaments platform alongside eMLS events.
“We are excited to witness top-tier competition in eMLS this season,” said Sam Turkbas, EA SPORTS FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner. “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.”
eMLS League Series 1: The 2022 season will kick off with League Series 1 presented by Coca-Cola®. On January 11 and January 12, all 27 eMLS players will play in streamed qualifiers. The top eight players in points from qualifiers will advance to the League Series 1 quarterfinals on January 15, with the semifinals and final to be held on January 16.
eMLS League Series 2: The second eMLS tournament of 2022 will be League Series 2 presented by Coca-Cola® in Chicago. The competition will follow the same format as League Series 1. On January 25 and January 26, eMLS players will compete in qualifiers. The top eight players in points will then progress onto the League Series 2 quarterfinals on January 29, with the semifinals and final to be held on January 30.
eMLS Cup: The final stop of the season will be the eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola® in Austin on March 13 as an official event of SXSW 2022, where the top 12 eMLS players will compete to be crowned the 2022 season champion. Recognized as a Tier 1 league by EA SPORTS, the top three eMLS Cup finishers will receive direct seats to the EA SPORTS Global Series Playoffs on the Road to the FIFAe World Cup. The first 11 competitors in the field will be determined by total season qualifier points from League Series events, while the 12th and final seed from a Last Chance Qualifier tournament on March 12. eMLS Cup will take place at ACL Live in downtown Austin in conjunction with Austin FC and will be a FIFA celebration at the intersection of soccer, gaming, and pop culture with numerous activities for fans to enjoy. The event will be open to SXSW badge holders as well as the general public for free. Registration will open at a later date.
eMLS prioritizes the health and safety of its competitors, staff, and fans. All in-person events will follow local and state guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety measures. Competitions are subject to transition to online-only dependent on ongoing COVID-19 conditions.
Competition will take place on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 22 and will be played exclusively on PlayStation®5 (PS5™) marking eMLS’s debut season played on the next-generation console. Fans can tune in to all eMLS competitions beginning on January 11 via club websites and the official MLS Twitch, MLS Twitter , and MLSsoccer.com.
For more information on eMLS, including participating Clubs and player signings, please visit www.MLSsoccer.com/eMLS.
eMLS is the esports and gaming property of Major League Soccer. Built around the EA SPORTS™ FIFA franchise, its goal is to utilize gaming to reach global audiences, raise the profile of MLS, and grow its next generation of fans. eMLS has grown from 19 MLS Clubs in 2018 to 27 Clubs participating in the upcoming 2022 season. For more information, visit www.mlssoccer.com/eMLS.
About Electronic Arts:
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company develops and delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, mobile devices and personal computers. In fiscal year 2021, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $5.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Apex Legends™, The Sims™, Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Titanfall™ and F1™. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news. EA SPORTS, Ultimate Team, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Apex Legends, The Sims and Titanfall are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. John Madden, NFL, FIFA and F1 are the property of their respective owners and used with permission.