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Why it matters: Many sports fans are struggling after the cancellation of seasons from every major sport. EA thinks it can fill that soccer sized hole in your heart with a tournament featuring prominent stars from various European clubs. Even better, the company is donating a large sum of money to help coronavirus relief efforts.
Most, if not all, sports leagues have canceled their respective seasons thanks to the global pandemic. Electronic Arts is hoping to ease some of that longing for sports by hosting a FIFA 20 tournament called the Stay and Play Cup on Twitch.
The Stay and Play Cup is a single-elimination tournament consisting of 20 well-known and historic soccer (or football if you prefer) clubs across Europe from April 15-19. Those clubs include Chelsea, FC Copenhagen, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and others. Each club will nominate a pro soccer player for a total of 20 players.
As part of the tournament, EA will donate $1 million to Global Giving's Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is undoubtedly worthwhile and significant given the circumstances. It dovetails with EA's "Stay Home Play Together" initiative, which was a series of special events around popular EA franchises like Apex Legends and Madden.
EA isn't the only one hosting virtual sports tournaments. NASCAR and Fox Sports teamed up to create the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitation Series that replaces real races with "simulation-style" esports competitions. Notable NASCAR veterans like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Bobby Labonte competed against each other while Jeff Gordon commentated.
The NBA and publisher 2K Games teamed up to put on an NBA 2K20 tournament hosted by ESPN. The first round of the tournament started on April 5th, with the quarterfinals finishing on April 7th. The semifinals and finals will commence this Saturday.
Obviously, athletic skill on the soccer pitch doesn't necessarily translate to success in a video game, but this should be a fun way for fans (especially in Europe) to enjoy the most popular sport in the world from their homes.
"We want to bring the global football community together with the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Stay and Play Cup, so millions of fans can experience the thrill of their favorite clubs and professional footballers playing – even when we have to be apart," said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. "As part of 'Stay Home, Play Together,' we're working to help people around the world find more ways to connect through play. Combined with relief contributions we are making, we hope to make a positive impact in people's lives during this challenging time."