Virgin Media has been announced as the title partner of the Football Association of Ireland’s Esports programme, including the ELOI which will now be titled the Virgin Media ELOI.
The new two-year agreement will provide Virgin Media with title sponsorship of the ELOI, eNational Team and a newly launched EFAI Cup.
The new EFAI Cup will be an exciting two-week online tournament in January which will cumulate in an in-person final four showdown one week after the tournament ends. The tournament will be open to all levels to enter and participants must be over 16 and based in the Republic of Ireland. Registrations will open in December.
The Virgin Media ELOI will run from February to April 2024 and will feature all 20 men’s League of Ireland clubs, competing in a group format with the top two teams progressing to the live Final.
The winner of the Virgin Media ELOI will earn a place in the eChampions League Group Stage and a Play-Off place for the FC Pro World Championship.
Competitive gaming and the esports industry have grown exponentially in recent years. The industry has become a global phenomenon with millions of fans participating and consuming esports. There are around two million gamers in Ireland across all spectrums, and it is estimated there are around 700,000 Esports enthusiasts.
The FAI have recognised these developments in esports and has decided to actively shape the efootball landscape here in Ireland. The FAI’s esports programme is established to attract and engage with a younger demographic of football fans and create a new participation and supporter stream through esports.
Sean Kavanagh, FAI Commercial Director, said: “This is an exciting partnership for the FAI to have such a brilliant brand to be the title sponsor for our electronic games programmes. This is an exciting area for us to grow and has huge potential for both ourselves and Virgin Media. The addition of the EFAI Cup will give the wider public a great opportunity to get involved in the games and having Virgin Media alongside us will help us amplify this as well as the Virgin Media ELOI and ENational Team for the FAI to an even wider audience.”
Vice President of Commercial at Virgin Media, Paul Higgins said: “Virgin Media recognises the growth of gaming and esports in Ireland and we know many of our customers come to Virgin Media so they can experience the most reliable and best broadband for their gameplay. This important strategic partnership with the FAI is an opportunity for Virgin Media to continue to support the gaming community in Ireland so the right infrastructure is in place for Irish gamers to play and compete.
“We are excited to partner with the FAI’s esports programme that is committed to engaging and supporting gamers at a grass root and national level. This partnership is an extension of our gaming partnerships with the likes of Esports organisation WYLDE.”
Mark Scanlon, League of Ireland Director, said: “We’re delighted to announce Virgin Media as title sponsor with the FAI and it is great to have such a well-known and innovative brand as title sponsor of the ELOI. The ELOI has a huge role for us to play in the growth of the League of Ireland’s fanbase with the newer generation and last year’s tournament was a great way to kick off the new brand. We’re excited to see where we can take the Virgin Media ELOI along with Virgin Media into 2024.”
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