The Japan Professional Football League (J.LEAGUE) and Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. announce the establishment of the eJ.LEAGUE Winning Eleven 2019 Season, an esports competition that will utilize mobile game “Winning Eleven 2019” as its competition title.
This initiative came about due to a shared desire between J.LEAGUE and KONAMI to grow soccer’s fan base by offering a new way to enjoy the sport—through esports competition on a readily accessible device like a smartphone.
The eJ.LEAGUE Winning Eleven 2019 Season is designed to be a tournament for players of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Each of the 40 clubs across the J1 and J2 leagues will have three players assigned to its esports equivalent. These teams will then face off in matches in mobile game “Winning Eleven 2019,” which to date has been downloaded over 150 million times around the world.
KONAMI has been working together with J.LEAGUE as their top partner for the growth of soccer in Japan, and this esports event takes part in the effort.
Each club’s esports team will be divided into three age brackets: Under 15 (U-15), Under 18 (U-18), and All Ages (FULL), with one player for each bracket. An online qualifying round will begin in March, and those who are victorious will meet at the club trials in June, where the members for each team will be decided. This will be followed by the finals in July. According to the standings at the end of the competition, prize money totaling 15 million yen will be distributed between each club.
Other tournament information will be posted on the official website and elsewhere as it becomes available.
J.LEAGUE Chairman Mitsuru Murai had the following to say about this new arena of competition:
"This will be our first challenge with a mobile game, which can be played whenever, where ever. In addition to watching real soccer on DAZN, I believe fans will be able to enjoy J.LEAGUE more by participating in this event."
Meanwhile, Hideki Hayakawa, Representative Director and President of Konami Digital Entertainment, had this to say about the initiative:
"Through our eJ.LEAGUE Winning Eleven initiative with J.LEAGUE, we’ll work hard to promote and further broaden the ways to enjoy soccer, whether that’s for the esports players participating, the spectators cheering on their team in person, or the fans watching the action through live streaming."
J.LEAGUE Chairman Mitsuru Murai (left) and Konami Digital Entertainment Representative Director and President Hideki Hayakawa (right)
About the Winning Eleven series
A flagship KONAMI IP, the Winning Eleven soccer game series has been enjoyed for over 20 years, going back to its birth as a console title in 1995. The series is also gathering attention as an esports competition title. This includes the establishment of PES LEAGUE, an esports championship that crowns the greatest console Winning Eleven player in the world; its appearance in exhibition competition at the 18th Asian Games – Jakarta Palembang; and being selected as competition title for the Culture Program at the 74th National Sports Festival, Iki Iki Ibaraki Yume Kokutai ("Active Ibaraki Dream National Sports Festival").