The French Professional Football League (LFP) has taken a significant commercial step forward with its eSports league following a broadcast agreement with beIN Sports and Webedia to show games from the inaugural season of the e-Ligue 1.
The deal represents a major boost for LFP bosses efforts to strengthen the potential revenue streams for its new eSports league, which was recently created through a partnership with EA Sports.
The league will use EA Sports' Fifa 17 as the game for its competition, with each of the 20 football clubs in Ligue 1 sponsoring two Fifa players, one for PS4 and another for Xbox One.
As part of the broadcast agreement beIN Sports will utilise Webedia’s experience in the eSports sector to produce and broadcast the live fixtures from the league.
— e-Ligue 1 (@e_LIGUE1off) November 16, 2016
Webedia, which operate video game site IGN France, has invested widely in the competitive gaming industry in recent years having purchasing teams including Millenium and Oxent in addition to eSport marketing agency Bang Bang Management. The French media company also agreed a deal with French club PSG who will now have a branded team in the League of Legends European Challenger Series after investing in the Huma team.
“The partnership with Webedia, whose expertise in the field is recognized by all, will allow the channel to propose the best handling of this unprecedented competition,” said Florent Houzot, editor of beIN Sports.
Bertrand Amar, head of audiovisual development at Webedia, added: “We are pleased to be able to bring to the beIN SPORTS offer our expertise in the production of programs dedicated to eSports and the organization of eSports events.
This new agreement strengthens the relationship between LFP and beIN Sports which is the official broadcaster of LFP football leagues.
As the French league leads the way in marketing esports, other European clubs have been following suit with a number of them signing up professional eSports players themselves including West Ham, Man City and Wolfsberg.
The tournament commences 20 November.