Madden NFL Club Championship Helping To Drive New Business For EA Sports
EA Sports and the NFL in August announced the launch of the Madden NFL Club Championship, and EA’s Todd Sitrin said it is “driving a lot of new business for us.” Speaking at the Lagardere Sports esports Rising conference, Sitrin, Senior VP & GM of EA’s Competitive Gaming Division, said engagement has been “very, very high” without disclosing specific numbers. The Club Championship involves all 32 NFL teams, which will market and organize their own tournaments, which in turn may be held at stadiums or other team facilities. Semifinals for the event are being held at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, while the finals will be in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week. While the NBA 2K League, launching in May, will pit the 85 best players from around the world against each other, Sitrin said EA and the NFL are taking a different route, allowing any fan the chance to compete. “We have a much more open model (than a franchise model),” Sitrin said. “We want to bring people into that ecosystem and allow players to literally be on their couch one day, and three months from now be a super star. We can do that by having this open competition.” He added of the different models gaming leagues will test out over time: “This is the first inning of a nine-inning game. There are different ways of approaching the sport for the industry as a whole.”
FAN APPEAL: Sitrin thinks traditional stick-and-ball sports as video games can draw in more viewers and potential fans than a traditional first-person shooter esports game would. He thinks sports games offer fans the opportunity for a more special connection. Sitrin: “I don’t know why I want to watch a person play as a non-descript player in a particular game … when I could just as well watch that very same person play in a game that I already have an emotional connection to. To the team they’re playing, I already know the player. That I think makes a stronger connection.”
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