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La Liga’s FIFA 20 Esports tournament attracts over a million viewers

La Liga’s charity FIFA 20 Challenge Esports tournament held over the weekend had more than one million viewers in total who tuned in, according to the Spanish top-flight soccer league’s organising body.

Collectively there were 18 teams from Spain’s top-flight who took part in the competition on 22nd March, which was streamed live via YouTube, Twitch, the LaLigaSportsTV over-the-top (OTT) platform, as well as on La Liga’s official social media channels to ensure everyone could get access to the coverage.

Barcelona and Real Mallorca weren’t allowed to participate due to their sponsorship with Konami – the makers of FIFA 20’s main competitor, Pro Evolution Soccer.

The tournament was organised by Esports commentator Ibai Llanos and endorsed by La Liga, where it took shape in partnership with Spanish banking group Santander, La Liga’s main title sponsor, as well as EA Sports, the producers of the most recent FIFA 20 title.

It raised more than €140,000 ($250,000) to fight Covid-19, as Spain has become one of the hardest hit countries in the world.

La Liga commentator Miguel Ángel Román joined Llanos in presenting the matches, and players gave interviews in the aftermath as an effort to replicate the feel of a traditional match day experience.

The tournament was created and launched whilst the La Liga season is suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. The final itself saw more than 170,000 viewers tune in as Real Madrid striker Marco Asensio beat Leganés player Aitor Ruibal to claim the title.

In terms of linear distribution, La Liga’s domestic broadcast partner Movistar+ also showed matches on Spanish television, via its Deportes 1 channel, while Eleven Sports also aired the tournament in Belgium and Portugal.

La Liga has said that it is also carrying out further analysis to clarify the tournament’s reach via the #LaLigaSantanderChallenge hashtag, which was shared by influencers, clubs, and players, as well as Movistar and La Liga’s US broadcast partner, BeIN Sports.

Judging by the numbers for this tournament, it proved to be the winner as gaming proves popular while people are having to self isolate.

The EA Sports FIFA franchise has connected fans all around the world, continuing to be a popular source of competitive online gameplay.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 teams up with Girlguiding to encourage participation growth

Women's football

UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and Girlguiding – the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women – have teamed up to encourage greater participation of girls and young women in football.

The partnership is being announced ahead of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament, which kicks off across England in July this year. It is hoped the collaboration will excite and encourage girls and young women’s interest in football and reinforce the sport’s inclusivity.

Girlguiding members will also have the chance to commemorate the tournament with a brand-new badge, whether they watch a match or take part in the co-created football activities. Through the partnership, more than 5,000 Girlguiding members are planning to attend EURO matches across England this summer.

Recent research commissioned by CHILDWISE found almost one third (32%) of girls aged 7-17 would like more opportunities to play football and more than half of girls (52%) have never watched football in a stadium, compared to 33% of boys.

The research also found 69% of girls would like to see women’s football celebrated more in the media and 71% of all children (boys and girls) think female footballers should be paid the same as male footballers.

To launch the partnership, Girlguiding members from 21st North East Manchester Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and the Greater Manchester Rangers joined England’s Women’s footballers – Katie Zelem and Ella Toone – for a training session at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium, which will host the opening game of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 on July 6.

England midfielder Katie Zelem said in a statement:

“Getting to meet all the Girlguiding members was incredible. They picked up the activities so quickly and we all had an amazing time on the pitch talking about the game. As a former Rainbow, myself, it’s fantastic to be involved in such an important partnership, one which I have no doubt will help inspire and build girls’ confidence in the game.”

Chris Bryant, Tournament Director for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, added in a statement:

“This summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 promises to be the biggest women’s sporting event in European history.

“It will inspire long-term, sustainable positive change in women’s and girls’ football and we are delighted we have been able to team up with Girlguiding UK to support that change.

“Football is for all. We want to ensure whether its playing or watching, girls have the confidence to get involved and the opportunity to do so. We can’t wait to see Girlguiding members across England cheering on the teams at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.”

Labor set to deliver infrastructure upgrades to Northern NSW Football clubs

NNSWF

Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) is set to welcome nine promised infrastructure upgrades from the Labor Government following the party’s win at the Federal election.

The commitments are a result of NNSWF’s strategy to lobby Federal MPs as part of its key strategic priority of Places to Play, as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy plan.

The commitments are from Labor candidates standing for election on Saturday.

“We thank sitting MPs and candidates who have made pledges to support football within their electorate,” NNSWF CEO David Eland said in a statement via the organisation.

“One of our priorities as part of our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan is ‘Places to Play’. So these commitments are not a coincidence. They are reflective of the work NNSWF and Member Zone staff have done over a number of years.”

NNSWF launched a comprehensive Facilities Audit in 2018 to capture data on more than 200 football facilities across northern NSW. A priority projects list was established in conjunction with clubs to advocate with all levels of government.

The NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy was then released in 2020. From this, NNSWF developed seven Local Infrastructure Strategies consisting of data from the audit and outlined a strategic direction to cater for the increase in participation based on five pillars:

  • Planning for growth and demand
  • Improve existing venue capacity
  • Inclusive football facilities
  • Homes of football
  • Partnerships and investment

“Football is the largest team participation sport in NSW with our current rapid growth certain to continue,” Eland continued.

“We needed to plan for the future and identify the needs of our sport for those that currently play and for those that want to but can’t.

“We identified at the time that there could have been as many as 30,000 additional players across NSW that could have played in 2019 if they had access to a football facility.

“What we are doing is ensuring that football has the infrastructure and facilities to continue to grow into the future and players will have access to quality places to play wherever they are in our region.”

The clubs set to receive much-needed infrastructure upgrades following Labor’s election win are:

  • Wallsend FC, Wallsend DDC ($286,000 for ground improvements, including irrigation on both fields)
  • Newcastle Olympic FC ($625,000 for amenity improvements and a new grandstand)
  • Maitland FC ($2,000,000 to upgrade lighting and to develop new amenities and a function centre)
  • Valentine FC ($184,000 for amenities upgrades)
  • Dudley United Senior FC ($320,000 for gender neutral amenities upgrade, disability access and toilets)
  • Garden Suburbs FC ($400,000 for female friendly changerooms)
  • Singleton Strikers FC (3,000,000 for upgrades to three full fields, multi-use court, upgraded amenities and carpark)
  • Edgeworth FC ($65,000 for fencing, completion of lighting project and completion of dish drainage)
  • Thornton JFC ($150,000 for lighting upgrade to two fields and new lighting to MiniRoos area)

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