eMBS Cup challenge kicks off June 2

SPL footballers and eGamers join forces to game their way to glory

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RIYADH — After Al Nasr emerged victorious in the eMBS League Challenge held between May 9-14, Saudi Professional League (SPL) clubs face off once again on the virtual screens as the eMBS Cup Challenge brings knockout style football to decide who brings the cup home to their clubs.

Launched as part of $10million charity esports event Gamers Without Borders, the eMBS Cup Challenge — which will stream live from June 2 — will pair professional footballers from each of the SPL’s 16 clubs with elite-level FIFA pro gamers.

The eMBS Cup Challenge will be played in knockout style football with footballers facing off against one another and the eGamers playing their counterparts. The tournament will start with the round of 16 matches on June 2, quarterfinals and semifinals will be played June 3 and the final will be played on June 4.

The tournament is part of a string of initiatives in Gamers Without Borders involving SPL clubs, as the eMBS League Challenge brought footballers and gamers together as well in group-stage style tournament with the winner and runner-up of each group advancing to the quarterfinals.

Over 235,000 fans tuned in across five days as Al Nasr won the eMBS League Challenge following a mouthwatering Riyadh Derby final saw them defeat their rivals Al Hilal 3-2 on aggregate.

The SPL Fans eCup was the fans’ version of the competition, as each club invited one lucky fan to represent them across two days in a knockout tournament that saw Al Fayha defeat Al Ittihad 3-2.

“Through the eMBS League Challenge and the SPL Fans eCup we’ve seen the tremendous potential eSports has in reaching out to a diverse set of audiences. Football fans have been able to enjoy the sport they love in this difficult time.

“Over 235,000 fans tuned in to cheer on their clubs and players in the eMBS League Challenge alone, and for us that demonstrates how innovative eSports can be,” said Prince Faisal Bin Bandar, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), who organized Gamers Without Borders.

All the action will be streamed live on Gamers Without Borders’ streaming platforms via Twitch for fans to tune in and cheer on their clubs. Providing commentary on the games will be some of the Arab world’s most renowned football voices, with pre and post-match analysis also part of the program.

Gamers Without Borders is uniting the global gaming community over seven weeks. It is open to all levels of gamers, with its elite level players competing for a share of a $10million prize fund that will be donated to key international charities leading the fight against COVID-19. — SG


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