Last night, PlayStation and Fox Sports culminated together to bring the semi final and final stage of the inaugural Fox Fans League tournament, which saw both pro FIFA players and a handful of well known Australian athletes come together to battle for the championship.
The competition was focused on using an all-A-League team in the Ultimate Team game mode, so players were allowed to customize their team to their liking, as long as it was comprised of only A-League players. The players themselves came decked out in their teams jersey’s as well, with the finalists comprised of a lone Sydney FC fan (my personal team), a couple of Wanderers fans and a Central Coast Mariners fan, making the games that much more interesting.
While the semi finals and final stages were broadcasted to those with a Foxtel subscription on channel 505, the competition itself had been underway for around a month as gamers battled it out for a spot in the final stages at a handful of Westfield shopping centres around Australia. Well known football commentators Andy Harper, Simon Hill, Mark Bosnich and Adam Peacock were regulars in the earlier stages to scope out the competition and came together to call the action play-by-play for both the semi finals and the final.
Well known sports stars Gary Ablett and Jamie Soward made an appearance as well, and as it turns out the latter is quite the fan of FIFA but unfortunately didn’t make it past the semi final stage, suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of would-be champion and Sydney FC supporter Julian Mangraviti. Julian progressed to the final and took on Youtuber Sam Mort – known as Mortician14 – who beat Central Coast representative Jake in the semis. Both finalists are pro FIFA players, which was evident in the way they approached the game, giving ample time to feel out their respective opponent before settling into any kind of rhythm. In the end, it was Sydney FC representative Julian Mangraviti who won by 5 goals to nil to become the first champion of the Fox Fans League.
While it was evident that the team over at Fox Sports (Mark Bosnich, Adam Peacock, Simon Hill, Tara Rushton and Andy Harper) are very new to the gaming scene, they made a great effort to invest in what was happening and appreciate how far gaming has come in such a short time. The guys are on commentary duty every weekend for A-League and English Premier League action, so it’s understandable that they don’t have that much time to devote any kind of time to gaming. It was a smart move slotting in EA’s Chris Bowden in commentary to regulate what was happening and explain how FIFA represents the real game, as it evidently helped the guys out quite a bit to stay on track and not get too confused.
Overall, the first inaugural tournament for the Fox Fans League was a huge step in the right direction to showcase some of Australia’s best FIFA players and show a new side of football to Australians. Fox Sports getting in on this right from the beginning is outstanding, and PlayStation’s involvement in both the tournament itself and becoming the major sponsor of the National Premier League – the competition right underneath the A-League – is fantastic. I can see this becoming a massive event in years to come, so congratulations to the winners and both Fox Sports and PlayStation for making it happen.