Virgin Media has signed a two-year deal to become the title sponsor of the Football Association of Ireland’s esports programme, including the ELOI, which will now be known as the Virgin Media ELOI. The agreement also covers Virgin’s title rights to a newly-launched EFAI Cup, a two-week online tournament in January which cumulates in an in-person final four showdown a week after the tournament ends.
The competition is open to all levels to enter. Participants must be over 16 and based in the Republic of Ireland. The Virgin Media ELOI will run from February to April and features 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 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 considerably in recent years with millions of fans participating and consuming games. There are around two million gamers in Ireland across all spectrums with around 700,000 esports enthusiasts. The FAI’s esports programme was established to attract and engage with a younger demographic of football fans and create a new participation and supporter stream.
Pictured are E Republic of Ireland players Eric Finn and Ciaran Walsh with Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes