FIFA made more money in games than last year from the actual game after a coronavirus pandemic caused chaos and fans joined an online football fix.
The revenue generated by these traditional tournaments has fallen from the expected GBP 129 million to just over GBP 1 million, but the cash generated by the game-dominated licensing rights has skyrocketed, ending 40% above the GBP 115 million budget.
"Due to the lack of tournaments played in 2020, the sale of license rights… brought the lion's share of the generated revenue," FIFA said in its annual report.
"A key source of revenue in the area of licensing rights was the licensing of brands for video games.
"Unlike many economic sectors that have been drastically affected by the COVID-19 program, the video game industry has proven to be much more resilient to a pandemic."
FIFA responded quickly and creatively to the pandemic and organized five eTournaments during the year, with prizes of up to £70,000 for the winners.
"In a year when most of FIFA's competitive gaming competitions could not go according to plan, the FIFA team had to be creative in engaging players, players and fans," added FIFA.
There is definitely no shortage of players. The EA Sports FIFA series has 35 million unique players and an estimated 150 million on all platforms.
EA Sports is a long-standing partner of FIFA and, under an agreement signed in 2013, has the exclusive right to publish action video games under the FIFA brand until 31 December 2022.
Last year's most prestigious event was the FIFA eClub World Cup, in which North American Complexity Gaming players beat Gareth Balea Ellevens eSports team 2: 1 in a penalty shootout for £31,000.
This tournament took place in Milan in February and was the last to take place face to face.
Only slightly less serious was FIFA eNations StayAndPlay Friendlies, which brought together top sports stars and footballers to represent their nations in more than 100 games per week of international action.
The aim of the event was to encourage people to stay safe at home and avoid exposure to the virus.
Brazil, with eSports star 'Zezinho' and Flamengo midfielder Everton Ribeiro, who has eight caps for the national party, won the 'eSuperclásico de las Americas' over Argentina, represented by Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and best player 'WestHamYago'.
Liverpool, Diogo Jota, showed up for Portugal, alongside eSports player Diogo Mendes, who is competing for Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicuet, Falcons, on eSports.
Although even this star group was not enough to defeat the surprise package, Malta, which also shot down Germany and Wales. Malta celebrated every kick - and an unexpected victory - on the National Football Association's website.
However, in accordance with the tradition of beautiful play, there were, of course, controversies.
The Egyptian team, which included international footballers Ahmed El Sheikh and Ahmed Hassan, known as Kouk, the striker of the Greek club Olympiacos, withdrew due to Israel's participation before the event.
The most lucrative competition was the inaugural FIFAe 2020 Continental Cup, which brought together 16 teams from China, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
They competed for a total prize of £220,000 in FIFA Online 4 Series, a popular format for gaming in Asia.
The new tournament was celebrated with the success of FIFA.
"Because we are constantly looking for new and exciting ways to get involved in the FIFAe global community, we are grateful to host such a competition despite challenging circumstances," said Adrian Rolli, FIFA's Head of eFootball.
"The incredible passion shown by the contestants and the fans has made the event a special opportunity today."
The event, which was broadcast live in four languages, was won by Purple Mood Esport and their three-member team shared the first prize of £70,000.
In addition, the world governing body hosted the FIFA eChallenger Series and launched a new sports tournament brand called FIFAe, which both helped increase the box office.
However, in addition to its own FIFA tournaments, EA Sports hosted more coronavirus-inspired events that captured the imagination of fans.
English stars at all levels fought in FIFA 20 to raise awareness and funding for the National Emergencies Trust in the midst of a pandemic.
The Premier League stars have teamed up to form the #playerstogether initiative to raise vital cash.
And the Three Lions played their part by launching a tournament - called the #FootballsStayingHome Cup.
It was attended by sixteen players, including Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, James Maddison and Callum Wilson.
The trio of lionesses Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs and Ellie Roebuck also participate in the FIFA tournament.
The partnership between EA Sports and FIFA was mutually beneficial and extended to success in the ever-popular online game 28 years ago.
According to The Telegraph, parent company EA Sports Electronic Arts (EA) reported revenues of up to GBP 58 million in the last quarter of last year, compared to the same period in 2019 to GBP 1.2 billion.
And the release of FIFA 21 is its most successful launch ever. The market values EA at £28 billion, compared to Manchester United, the world's largest publicly traded football club, worth £2 billion.
These numbers reflect the fact that the relationship between fans and football is changing before our eyes. The connection for many young people is not starting to stand on the terraces with their fathers, but to play impressive video games with their friends.
"The very idea of what defines a football fan is changing," David Jackson, vice president of EA Sports, told The Telegraph in notes that reflect the recent views expressed by Andrea Agnelli, president of Juventus and the European Club Association.
Agnelli said earlier this month that the interest of young fans - with 40% of people aged 16-24 saying they are not interested in football - is crucial for the future of the game.
"The way a modern football fan clashes with their favorite league, team or athlete is little like a relationship from ten years ago," Jackson added.
"As the fandom evolved, football had to contend with this shift and plays a bit of catching up with what really motivates modern audiences.
"If a child growing up in Tokyo or Toronto becomes a PSG fan, it is unlikely that it was because he visited the Parc des Princes. It is much more likely that their favorite player is playing for PSG and they have started to learn about them in part through FIFA. "
Content created and supplied by: Richmond20 (via Opera News )