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Volume 27 No. 5
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eMLS Cup Looks To Create Cultural Relevance With SXSW Partnership

eMLS has officially announced its scheduling for the '20 season, which culminates for the first time at SXSW in Austin next March for the eMLS Cup. Twenty-five clubs will be represented throughout the season, including new additions LAFC, Nashville SC and Austin FC. "As we’ve thought about what eMLS Cup 3.0 looks like, having the canvas and the background of SXSW was really compelling,” said MLS Senior Dir of Properties James Ruth. With the SXSW activation, MLS can create a "halo moment" at "one of the more culturally significant events" of the year, Ruth added, saying that conversations are ongoing for what the league’s footprint will look like in Austin. The two clubs not participating are Inter Miami CF and Real Salt Lake. Ruth said participation isn’t mandatory. "We want clubs to be engaged because they think it’s a really good opportunity, not because the league is telling them to do that," said Ruth, adding that the event in Austin is a way for MLS to "step into pop culture more broadly" and reach existing and new fans. For the '20 eMLS season, Cheez-It, EA Sports, Pringles and PlayStation return as official partners while the property added Scuf Gaming, which will be the official controller and controller accessory partner. PlayStation will be the presenting partner of eMLS League Series and eMLS Cup. Ruth said a media distribution partner is "coming soon." Two League Series events will be held in Philadelphia (January) and Portland (February), respectively, before eMLS Cup in Austin. Ruth said that Austin FC will support the March event. The winner will receive 850 Global Series points and support his or her qualification for the Global Series playoffs.