Electronic Arts has regularly featured its Madden series in competitive esports play and the developer will soon have a notable partner for future tournaments: the National Football League. The NFL and EA announced Monday the joint launch of the Madden NFL Club Championship, a competitive esports event for the Madden game series.

How To Sign Up For The Madden NFL Club Championship

The Club Championship works by having any player first register through EA Sports’ website, where they can choose which of the full 32 NFL teams they want to represent. In the first round, players will compete in Madden ’s in-game Ultimate Team or Ultimate Team Champions mode. After this, high-performing players will go through additional tournament rounds until 32 final players are chosen.

These 32 players, who each represent one NFL team, will then go through two final matches. The first will be held at the Pro Bowl Experience and the second will be held at the Super Bowl Experience in Minneapolis, Minn. The winner will receive a cash prize as part of a $403,000 purse and two tickets to Super Bowl LII.

The Club Championship will be one of several Madden esports competitions run by EA this season, which first launched its official esports competition for Madden last year. The Madden NFL Classic will be held in late October, while the Madden NFL Challenge is slated for early December.

In a statement, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the success of the competition’s inaugural year made its expansion for 2017 and 2018 a logical next step.

“Our first season of Madden NFL competitions was a great success, engaging millions of players and igniting the passion of NFL fans worldwide,” Wilson said. “Now we’re taking competitive gaming and our NFL partnership to an unprecedented level, with Madden NFL players competing to represent all 32 NFL teams. The Madden NFL Club Championship is the opportunity sports fans have been waiting for, to live their dreams and compete for their favorite team on a global stage.”

The NFL’s partnership with EA makes it the latest league to jump into the esports space. Earlier this year, publisher Take-Two Interactive announced that it will work with 17 NBA teams to launch a NBA 2K esports league.

The move also reflects the spike in growth and interest for esports competition within the past few years. Games like Dota 2 and Overwatch have become frequent titles in tournaments with audiences big enough to regularly fill sports arenas — earlier this month, esports tournament The International held its latest event at KeyArena in Seattle. Universities across the U.S. have also begun to field scholarship-supported varsity esports teams. Research firm NewZoo estimated that the U.S. esports audience in 2016 would be at around 41.7 million viewers.

The NFL’s move also highlights an increasing focus among companies in the esports market. Within the past few years, investors have helped launch and support a variety of smaller leagues. Earlier this year, Nickelodeon was among several companies who brought a $15 million funding round to esports group Super League Gaming. Owners of teams in leagues like the NFL and National Hockey League have also been tied as investors to various esports leagues.

Part of this interest also comes from investors who want to take advantage of the growth in the esports space. Nielsen previously estimated that playoffs in the biggest esports tournaments in 2017 produced up to $17 million in value for sponsorship partners and NewZoo estimated that the esports market could reach revenues of $1.5 billion by 2020.

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