Pro football teams join IESA
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa, leading Israeli football clubs, enter esports. Both clubs recruited FIFA players and officially joined the Israeli e-Sports Association
Two of the most prominent football clubs in Israel enter esports: Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa both recruited FIFA players with the intention to compete in national & international tournaments. Both clubs joined the Israeli e-Sports Association (IESA). Maccabi Haifa was the first club to recruit 18-years-old FIFA player Or Izack, who won the Israeli national esports championship in the FIFA category last year.
Maccabi Tel Aviv had the most recent recruitment with twin players Or and Dor Eligula, who are prominent in FIFA tournaments in Israel in both singles and doubles competitions. Both clubs announced their intention to participate in the upcoming Israeli National esports Championships later this year, and joined the Israeli e-Sports Association, which was founded in 2010 with the goal to promote and manage esports in the country.
While FIFA is very popular among casual and console gamers in Israel, it’s national esports scene isn’t quite as big as other esports titles such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike. For example, League of Legends’ national championships prize pool last year was approximately $15,000, while the FIFA nationals had only $600. Viewership numbers are also significantly lower than other esports titles: the CS:GO championship had a record breaking viewership number of 45,000 unique viewers of the final games, while the FIFA finals had drawn a little more than 200.
Even so, it is easy to understand why soccer clubs chose FIFA as their entry point to esports: it’s relatable and well known within their fans. Following this move by Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv, it is expected that more clubs will invest in esports, and potentially recruit players for additional esports titles.