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MLS signs Twitch partnership to expand reach of eMLS Cup

Major League Soccer has signed a one-year partnership with the Amazon-owned Twitch to give its esports competition, the eMLS Cup, a more prominent position on the streaming channel.

The partnership – which will start with next month’s eMLS Cup – could also include non-gaming content, such as highlights or other video content from the teams. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fifa is one of the main generators of the fans that we have,” Chris Schlosser, senior vice-president of MLS Digital, told Bloomberg. “If you look at it historically — radio built baseball, television built the NFL and NBA, and the internet is building soccer.”

The 2019 eMLS Cup features 22 of the 24 MLS teams, with Atlanta United, DC United and expansion club FC Cincinnati participating for the first time.

Jason Levien, the DC United chief executive and managing general owner, told SportBusiness he is planning to build an esports arena at Audi Field.

“We are looking to do some esports events – this is something we are taking are hard look at,” Levien said. “ All of  esports is a dramatically growing industry. It’s an opportunity to engage our current fans and connect with some younger sports fans who don’t know as much about DC United. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to grow our fanbase more than anything.”