USA's Major League Soccer has launched a month-long virtual tournament starring professional athletes and esports players as Covid-19 continues to disrupt sporting activities.
Technology blog The Verge reports that the tournament will be called the eMLS Tournament Special and will pit 16 MLS teams against each other, pairing an actual member of the team with an esports player for two-on-two matches.
The report further states that MLS will broadcast five matches over a period of a month and will be broadcast on FS1and Fox Deportes. Fox Sports commentators Stu Holden, Rachel Bonnetta, and Rodolfo Landeros will lend their voices to the tournament.
MLS follows a similar path taken by other sports to fill the void left by the suspension of sporting activities in the US due to coronavirus outbreak. Other sports that have launched virtual competitions include NBA, MLS, Formula One, and NASCAR.
Broadcasters are also turning to esports to fill programming gaps left by live sports action. Esports, or virtual tournaments that more closely resemble simulations of a regular game, are the easiest way to fill that programming space while players are stuck at home.
The first eMLS Tournament Special match will air on Sunday, April 19th, at 7PM ET, and see the Chicago Fire take on the FC Cincinnati.