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Manchester City's historic China esports launch

PIONEERS: Members of the FIFA Online team at the esports launch in China

PIONEERS: Members of the FIFA Online team at the esports launch in China

Manchester City, the 2017/18 Premier League Champions, are expanding their global esports presence by becoming the first Premier League club to launch a FIFA Online team in China.

The team will play in the competitive Online Star League (FSL) which kicks off a new season on 15 June 2018. 

The team will consist of five players, including Zhang Jun, last season’s Most Valuable Player, as well as Aruya and Liu Chao, who have both excelled in the FSL over the past two seasons. 

The team was officially unveiled today at an exclusive launch event held at the Star Alliance Esports Center in Beijing, which was attended by representatives from Manchester City, Tencent, and the Chairman of the Assocation for Chinese Esports (ACE), Xu Ye.

At the event, it was also revealed that the remaining two spaces on Manchester City’s all-new FIFA Online team would be filled by Manchester City supporters, who will earn their place by taking part in a nationwide competition.

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For a chance to participate in the competition, which is open to supporters in China, follow Manchester City’s WeChat account, “mcfcofficial”, and register to find out more about the selection process in the coming weeks.  

As well as competing on the eSports stage, Manchester City’s FIFA Online team will also provide new and exciting opportunities for fans in China to interact with the Club. Not only will two deserving supporters have the opportunity to represent Manchester City while playing the game, but all of the Club’s followers will also be able to keep up to date with the progress of the eSports team across the Club’s Sina Weibo channel.

Commenting on the team, David Tang, Regional Director of China at Manchester City said: “We are delighted to enter the exciting world of gaming in China, the biggest market in the world for esports.

"Our new FIFA Online team comes in addition to our dedicated esports players at Manchester City, as well as at our sister clubs New York City and Melbourne City, highlighting Manchester City’s and the wider City Football Group’s commitment to both esports and our growing fanbase in China. 

“We are looking forward to watching the team play in the FSL as they strive to become Champions and add to the success we have enjoyed on the pitch this season.”

Tencent Executive Shulun Gao added:  “It’s great to see Manchester City’s commitment to esports grow with their entry into the Chinese gaming market. Manchester City have already made a significant contribution to the esports industry.

"They were one of the first Premier League clubs to sign a professional esports player and the digital content and fan experiences they have created since then have been unparalleled.

“FIFA Online is incredibly popular across China, and it is an exciting prospect for us to have an esports team in China, which supporters can identify with the reigning Premier League Champions. The new season starts very soon, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for FIFA Online.” 

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