The New York Red Bulls became the latest MLS club to dive into the burgeoning gaming space on Sunday, signing Mike LaBelle as the club’s first eSports player.
LaBelle will represent the Red Bulls in the recently-announced EA Sports FIFA 18 gaming league, eMLS, and in FIFA tournaments around the world. He’s the second eSports signing in MLS, following Christopher Holly, who signed with RBNY’s crosstown rivals New York City FC last summer.
Already a Red Bull athlete, LaBelle is one of the premier content creators in eSports with over 70,000 followers on Twitch and 285,000 on YouTube, and is a top-ranked player worldwide on both Xbox and Playstation. LaBelle is known for his game tutorials where he shares his tips for FIFA success with fans, and he will be creating team-specific content for Red Bulls fans.
“We are excited to have Mike, one of the biggest personalities in eSports, join our team,” said Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre in a club release. “Mike’s experience and reputation in the eSports world make him the ideal choice to lead our club into this new space. We look forward to him representing the Red Bulls in eMLS competitions.”
A Houston native, LaBelle played college soccer at McMurry University; he has won seven national titles in EA Sports FIFA and represented the United States at the FIFA Interactive World Cup and World Cyber Games, among others. He has also worked as a gaming analyst for Copa90 and Kick TV, and films and produces his own content.
On Friday MLS launched eMLS, a new competitive league for EA Sports FIFA 18 including 19 MLS teams, with each selecting a FIFA player to represent them in competition. The first eMLS Cup will take place this April at PAX East in Boston, with the winner earning an automatic berth in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoff and a chance to become the FIFA 18 World Champion at the FIFA eWorld Cup 18 in August.
MLS eSports signings
- Christopher Holly, NYCFC
- Mike LaBelle, New York Red Bulls