FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner at EA, Brent Koning, discusses the passion and energy that goes into hosting tournaments like the recent the FUT 18 Champions Cup in Manchester.
What do you look for when selecting venues to host the FUT Champions Cup?
The venues we look for are constantly changing, sometimes we need a vibrant open space and other times we need a cool, rustic, old warehouse that accelerates the tournament's vibe. Each city and venue we choose has a purpose and we spend an incredible amount of time making sure the space is good for our players, spectators, fans and staff.
Was Manchester a natural choice for the latest round?
You can’t argue with the fact the Manchester is the heartbeat and pulse of football lore. We chose Manchester because we wanted to thrive off that energy — AND WE DID! The city was an amazing host and we look forward to going back soon.
Does working with historic venues like the Victoria Warehouse present any challenges?
Every venue has its challenges, but the goal is always to lean into the uniqueness of that space versus the challenges. If you can do that, as we did at the Victoria Warehouse - arguably the best event EA has put on to date - then you win. For instance, instead of covering up an old beat up wall with a sign, you do the opposite and put a splash of color on it with lights.
How much heart and soul went into creating such an experience?
Passion runs through the veins of our entire team. Every single person, from the security guard at the gate to my producer Sarah in the truck, wants each experience to be amazing. My job is to make sure that we have people passionate enough to be working on the project. If we get everyone going in the right direction as we tap into the passion, we can’t fail.
What do you want fans and players to feel when walking onto a set for the first time?
It’s less about what we want people to think when they walk in the door, and more about people who are seeing a FIFA competitive event for the first time. The dedicated FIFA fan loves what we are doing. It’s the new people who see the stream, see the event, and truly soak it in, and say, “Hell yeah, I’m in!” that we are doing this for. Opening the eyes of many to the wonder of FIFA.
How does it feel knowing that your tournaments can transform someone like Mosaad 'Falcon MSDossary' Aldossary into a FUT 18 superstar?
I firmly believe that entertainment is about interaction at its core. The fact that we can make viewers, players, and fans all celebrate and cheer for one person after our events is incredibly powerful. Personally, helping elevate new stars is a pleasant feeling and we’re eager to continue to raise the known and elevate the unknown. This is how we grow competitive gaming and a community.
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