eMLS: Gambling Ad Masquerading as Wholesome Fun

FLIP Them The Bird and Don’t Dare to Look

Someone once said to me “It’s ok to just like things sometimes.” The comment rattled my brain in a way one could only expect after hearing something so profoundly stupid. This idiot philosopher disapproved of me critiquing Austin FC’s overly hyped logo reveal — the reveal paired with that pretentious info graphic — as if not enjoying every aspect of Austin FC is either sacrilegious or totally intolerable.

To live that blindly devoted to anything is cowardly — never bothering to question why you like something and feeling satisfied in that ignorance.  If you can justify your stance along the spectrum of adoration and disgust, you at least understand the “why”.  If you can’t, you’re a fool equally capable of idiotic proclamations like “It’s ok to just hate things sometimes.” Not knowing the “why” behind your own opinions indicates a dangerous susceptibility to outside influence or a lazy reliance on preconception to make decisions for you.

No thanks, rube.  Questioning every facet of the ATXFC Machine is my duty as a responsible consumer — it’s the American way!  What would incentivize the front office to produce a quality product — on or off the pitch — if we mindlessly consumed any unthoughtful crap they threw at us?  If this person had it there way, we would all be strapped down, mainlining intravenous ATXFC content while our credit cards were being charged by the minute . . . No. Questions. Asked.

Purchasing season tickets from Austin FC gives them the privilege to take thousands of dollars from my bank account and returning to me the privilege of attending games. While that describes the direct exchange, I also, as a non-passive consumer with half a brain, reserve the right to question where my funds end up. Today, I would like to exercise that right. If I had a direct line to the front office, I’d be harassing them with daily questions as to why they promote a video game as greedy and immoral as EA Sports’ FIFA Ultimate Team.  You might take this as an overblown, hyperbolic joke, but I assure you I’m deadly serious.  This is a creation spawned of pure, unabashed greed.

Imagine a Las Vegas casino floor infested with ignorant adolescent gamblers hauling around piggy banks and spending their modest life-savings on the promise of rare digital trading cards.  The true degenerates lounging in the high rollers section are using their parents’ stolen Amex’s to feed their ugly addiction, while the adult game developers knowingly watch on from protected security rooms, counting the cash as it pours in.  Lines of coke used to keep chips moving into the early morning are replaced by energy drinks, strippers and whores by the streamers and Youtubers these kids ogle over and adore.  This is the spirit of FIFA Ultimate Team.

Exposition

Ultimate team is a mode within the otherwise benign video game known as FIFA, the premier soccer video game of planet Earth.  eMLS is a promotional extension of FIFA Ultimate Team seeing Major League Soccer teams sign professional gamers to represent their club in occasional electronic showdowns.

Representatives build their customized “Ultimate Team” by attaining player cards through opening digital packs, similar to the physical trading cards old people are accustomed to.  Where the physical trading card could hold value over time, the most devious side of FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) is that their digital cards lose any tangible value once the newest version of the game is released.  Unlike the physical world, this entire digital market resets annually.  You might unpack a FIFA ‘21 card with a perceived street value of $100, but that card’s value plummets to nothing once the entire world inevitably migrates to FIFA ‘22, upon its release.

Just like their physical counterparts, these digital packs cost real money, and to acquire the players necessary to compete at the level of eMLS, you have to spend real money — shocking amounts of real money.  Once the year is up, and the next cycle of the video game releases, you rinse and repeat.  To put in plainly, you have to pay college tuition, buy a car, or make a 20% home downpayment anywhere outside of Travis County — in full, every year —  to compete at the same level as an eMLS player.

Fin

If eMLS operates as an opt-in model, it seems only the Mormons had big enough balls to not pull the trigger;  Of the twenty-six MLS teams — and newcomers St. Louis — only Real Salt Lake is absent from the eMLS lineup.  Twenty-seven Major League Soccer teams are knowingly/unknowingly promoting Ultimate Team every time they talk, Tweet, or post about their eMLS representative — Austin being one of them.

Our club’s eMLS pro, John “xBleu” Garcia, serves as a typical example.  The former LA Galaxy representative fields a team looking something like what you see here.  The simple math tells us local kids looking to emulate John would have to spend more than what could be considered responsible to create the same team. According to a few online databases, John’s starting striker (Brazilian Ronaldo with his historically worst haircut) trades for 7 million FIFA coins; coins you can purchase from black market websites for around $700. You only need 10 more players and bench, then you’re ready to rock. Hot damn – that’s some serious green.

Wheres the MLS players at my guy?

EASports generates insane annual profits from Ultimate Team.  Their hell-spawned business model began pulling in over one-billion dollars annually in 2018 and nearly reached similar numbers for some time.  Take a look at this now infamous tweet from Daniel Ahmad. I’m not entirely sure how Dan attained this information, but the World Wide Web generally regards it as truth. The numbers are alarming and difficult to fathom:

We lack data showing monetary contributions by age range, but we can safely assume these staggering yearly totals weren’t exclusively funded by adults. Ultimate Team certainly does not discriminate by age.

The controls EA Sports have in place to prevent child gambling (let’s call it what it is) can only be described as laughable, and our team is culpable should they continue to promote this morally depraved activity. I don’t believe Austin FC or even “xBleu” are fully cognizant of how their participation in eMLS promotes such a sinful mechanism, but this needs to change.

Even atheists could imagine a half acre lot in hell reserved for the EA Sports employee who conceptualized peddling valueless digital assets to children.  We’re talking about the same unholy street populated by the marketing gurus behind “cotton candy” nicotine vapor and HappyMeal toys — Biblically evil scum. The last thing I want is for anyone operating our team to be associated with this activity.

The first step would be to educate the front office on these matters. If you do have a direct line to the powers that be, send them in my direction. If you have suggestions for a more flamboyant way of getting their attention, I’m down for that too. For now, I suppose I’ll craft them a letter with this link included and hope for the best. Even if it accomplishes nothing — for now — I’ll sleep a bit better at night knowing I tried.

Oh, hey there Tony.

It’s me . . . your bro.

Bronaldinho.

So whats up Tone?

Oh, Really? No way.

That’s cool.

What’s on my mind? Oh, not much at the moment. But if I’m being honest, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about this “EMLS” as of late and how it’s sort of stupid and evil.

First off, the kid we have playing for us isn’t even from Austin. I don’t think he even lives here. ALso, when I have seen him play, he’s not even using Major League Soccer players. They’re not even required to. I guess he uses the ATxFc jersey — so that’s cool — but other than that, it just feels like we’re promoting this guy for only his benefit. He was the Galaxy’s representative last year and could be repping the Whitecaps next year for all we know. It all seems odd.

Really, the whole EMLS deal is just a big plug for Ultimate Team, which is just a greedy money pit which circumvents child gambling laws. The internet provides more autonomy to our youth and that creates a pretty weak barrier for companies to exploit. hiding behind the veil of the net, it doesn’t seem as shady as setting up a poker table on a playground, but I’m promise you, its basically the same thing — and pretty screwed up. I made a post about it. Give it a read.

I know you give zero f’s about what people think of you and you will ultimately do whatever you think is smart business. I really respect that (lol columbus, amiright’?) Say F**K this trend and let’s pull ATxFC out of EMLS. Do it for our future.

Do it for the kids.

I promise you, not enough people will miss it to even make a fuss.

Thanks Tony. Stay woke.

talk soon.

– Senhor Bronaldinho