German sports broadcaster Sport1 has agreed a one-year extension to its deal with Fifa for rights to esports events organised by world football’s governing body.
Sport1 has secured platform-neutral media rights in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to the EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series and the 2020 eWorld Cup. This will be the third year in a row that Sport1 broadcasts Fifa’s esports events.
FIFA 20 Global Series events will be shown live on linear pay-television channel eSports1.
Selected competitions will also be broadcast live, as well as highlights produced, for free-to-air television, along with being covered on Sport1’s digital platforms. The coverage will be supplemented by regular features in the magazine programme ‘bwin Inside eSports’ and through videos on Sport1.de and in the eSports1 app.
The eClub World Cup will run from February 7-9, followed by the EA FUT Champions Cup (April 3-5), the eNations Cup (May 22-24) and the PS4 and Xbox Global Series Playoffs 2020 in June, before the grand finale of the season takes place again in London from August 7-9 with the eWorld Cup.
In the 2019 final, Mohammed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous, wearing the shirt of Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, became the first German Fifa world champion. With a peak figure of up to 200,000 viewers aged three and older, last year’s final was one of the most successful esports live broadcasts free-to-air on Sport1.
Daniel von Busse, chief operating officer of television and member of the management board of Sport1, said: “The FIFA Global Series as an international premium product in virtual football has already provided us with many highlights in the past, first and foremost of course the first German World Cup victory last year. We want to continue this success story and continue to offer the top-class events of the Fifa Global Series the big media stage.”
Speaking last month, Von Busse defended the decision to launch a linear channel, eSports1, for a pursuit which enjoys huge popularity on streaming platforms such as Twitch.
He said: “I definitely believe it was the right decision because esports, as an entertainment product, needs to be treated in an editorial way. So we add value to the product and something editorial behind it, explain the sport and its beauty to make it even more valuable.
“So yes, it’s worth it to have a linear channel. Let’s make this product better and more valuable than it already is.”