Competitive interactive football gaming on the rise as BT Sport to televise FIFA 17

BT Sport has agreed a deal with EA Sports to broadcast people playing FIFA 17, one of the world's most popular video game, for the first time on British and Irish television.

In a further indication of the rapid rise of e-Sports, BT Sport will show the last four "majors" of the football game's current season, including the Ultimate Team Championship Final in Berlin on May 20-21.

In a press release, Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: "Competitive interactive football gaming is a rapidly growing industry and I'm delighted that BT Sport is now able to showcase it for the first time ever."

The winner in Berlin will take home almost £130k (€154k) in prize money and seven-figure cheques have been claimed by e-Sports champions in other events, with the best players performing to huge online audiences.

This has led to some speculation that e-Sports could one day become an Olympic sport, although talks between the South Korea-based International e-Sports Federation and the International Olympic Committee have barely started.

There is no denying the burgeoning popularity of e-Sports, though, or the commercial opportunities. Last year, ITV and Sky teamed up to launch Ginx TV, an international, 24-hour channel dedicated to competitive gaming.

Todd Sitrin, an EA executive, said: "There's a profound opportunity for competitive gaming to achieve mainstream success and the key to accomplishing this is accessibility."

As well as the Ultimate Team Championship Final, BT Sport will show the season two regional finals of North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe on April 8, April 22 and May 6 respectively.


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