The Tribefire media team sat down with FIFA Youtuber and E-League commentator Jarrad Nance (JarradHD).
This year saw Australia’s professional football league, the A-League, launch the inaugural season of its competitive FIFA tournament, the E-League.
The E-League was a big success from the get go, with opening night reaching an audience sixteen percent larger than the average A-League game.
The league’s formation was representative of a familiar trend in the Australian sporting industry – turning its head to the gaming world as a means of connecting with younger generations who aren’t engaging as readily with sports.
There has been a lot of internal debate within the esports industry about whether this is the future, or whether the industry will quickly outgrow sports club investment.
Meanwhile, many Australian football fans had an equally hard time swallowing this attempt to
“pander” to younger generations.
For Jarrad, esports and sports will remain strongly connected in Australia, “It’s a great financial opportunity for new teams to come through or for existing teams to go to the next level.
“And from the sports clubs perspective, I think they would be foolish not to devote serious time and resources into esports… it really is the future.”
The E-League was a natural transition for Jarrad, who has earned a pretty serious following on Youtube (almost 200,000 subscribers) through his FIFA play through and commentary.
“In my earlier days on YouTube, I did a lot of post-commentary/analysis content, so those skills came right back to me!”
“The fast paced action of FIFA has given me the ability to articulate on my feet and I feel as if that ability worked perfectly with E-League commentary.”
Jarrad is one of Australia’s most successful FIFA Youtubers, winning Redbull Gaming Youtuber of the Year in 2017.
Known in the community especially for his entertaining Career Mode rebuilds, he has been scoring goals on FIFA for more than fifteen years now.
“I got into FIFA at a really young age. When I was 7 my dad bought me FIFA 03 as I had just begun playing football and he thought it would be a fun way for me to learn the rules of football. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Anybody who tuned into the competition would no doubt have enjoyed the gameplay as much as Jarrad’s silky smooth commentary.
The sometimes freakishly talented competitors appealed to a new breed of young football fans who have grown up playing each other on FIFA as much as on the field.
Jarrad describes, “My favourite E-League moment had to be the last game of the regular season; Mo from the Victory vs Samer from Sydney.
“Sydney had the opportunity to win the premiership where Mo had the opportunity to hand the premiership to Melbourne City…
“What ensued was utter chaos with Sydney eventually winning an insane game of FIFA. I think everybody involved got a massive kick out of that game.”
There were some vocal detractors in traditional sports media, who perhaps did not quite understand the importance and scope of competitive gaming. Jarrad was disappointed, but not surprised to see this friction.
“It was disappointing reading the negative words written by certain media personalities who didn’t even give the league a chance and closed their eyes to the potential benefits that came with it.
“However, we understand that these people aren’t the target audience of the E-League and therefore we take their opinions with a grain of salt and focus on creating the best possible product, which I believe Murray Shaw and the team at Fox Sports along with Andy Hoad and the team at NEP helped do.”
With FIFA a relatively small esports franchise, particularly in Australia, Jarrad believes the E-League was a huge boost for the competitive scene.
“I feel like the E-League gave the scene a massive boost which makes me excited for the next 12-24 months.
In the short term, there are a few competitors flying over to Amsterdam to compete in the FIFA eWorld Cup. We also have my fellow E-League commentator Nate Patrick launching N8 Esports, which aims to help Australian FIFA competitors gain a competitive edge and become some of the top FIFA talent on a global scale.”
With the first season of the E-League such a successful experiment, you can’t help but be excited about what’s to come as the league matures and grows in popularity.
Subscribe to JarradHD for awesome FIFA content, with a particular focus on Career Mode Rebuilds.
Stay tuned for the next season of the E-League on Twitch.
Join the JarradHD tribe by buying a jersey from his Tribefire store.
Editors note: we will be having a chat with Nate Patrick about his plans for N8 Esports very soon. Stay tuned!