The World Cup counts Coca-Cola as one of its partners for the 2018 games in Russia, and now something called the Russian Interactive Football Cup has become another thing that hopes to go better with Coke.
VY Esports, based in Los Angeles, is announcing a partnership between huge gamer Electronic Arts and Coca-Cola to launch the Russian Interactive World Cup tournament. It’s a qualifying competition in the FIFA 18 Global Series, and another indicator of how esports competitions, thought to be rather obscure events just a couple years ago, are now becoming mainstream.
EA makes the FIFA 18 game and has made a massively popular FIFA-endorsed electronic game since 1993. Reportedly 100 million EA FIFA games have been sold over the years
The Russian Cup is a tiered competition in which top esports players will compete in the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 culminating in the Grand Final. The new Russian Cup is one of the qualifying events. Eventually, the EA FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs ends with the eWorld Cup in August.
The Coca-Cola tie-in with the Russian esports tourney may be newsworthy to some just because it is marketing news of any kind even distantly connected with the real World Cup, which this year is touched by scandal among the organizers. Press reports say lining up official sponsors and partners for the games in Russia is happening more slowly than the World Cup games in Brazil in 2014.
“The Russian Interactive Football Cup will bring the global community of esports fans and players together in an experience unlike any other,” said Oleg Butenko, CEO and founder of VY Esports. “The Cup will focus on online and live content that entertains and engages the competitive spirit in ways that only EA, FIFA and football can bring.” He says it it is the first official qualifying competition of its size in Russia.
Separately, EA said last week it will issue a World Cup patch to its FIFA 18 game on May 29 that will make it possible to “play” in each of the 12 actual Russian World Cup stadiums and with the 32 teams participating in the big football competition.