League of Kings: Piqu’s ‘circus’ draws attention from youngsters and upsets La Liga

League of Kings: Piqu’s ‘circus’ draws attention from youngsters and upsets La Liga

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Only invited guests and media professionals were on the grounds near the port of Barcelona

The game between Barcelona and Getafe, at the Camp Nou Stadium, for the 18th round of the Spanish Championship, was not over until Sunday afternoon (22) when the ball also started to move at the Cupra Stadium, about 10 kilometers from the Catalan team’s stadium. .

There, there were no packed stadiums, like the crowd of 79,814 who saw Pedri score the winning goal for the blue and green team 1-0, a result that put them at the top of the table.

“It’s a new design, very clean, in constant evolution and with specific rules, from different sports”, says striker Alberto Bueno, 34, who wears the 1K FC shirt, a name that refers to the team’s president, a former goalkeeper. Spaniard Iker Casillas.

Bueno is also a professional player. He has worked his way up through clubs in Spain, England and Portugal, where he currently plays for Boavista. For him, playing in new competitions is also a way to “connect football with entertainment”.

“When people are at home they want to see something entertaining and I believe we achieve that,” he says.

The idea of ​​former defender Gerard Piqu and streamer Ibai Llanos, the creators of the project, was to create something that would be fun, especially for young viewers. Therefore, there are no restrictions on creativity in creating laws.

Without an interception, the ball is placed in the middle and teams must run to gain possession. The substitutions are limitless. A yellow card means that the player needs to leave the court for two minutes, and a red card means that he is sent off, but with the possibility of substitution.

Penalty kicks are taken while the ball is in motion. If the team requests the use of VAR (video referee) and there is no change in the referee’s marking, the right to request a check ends.

There are also cards with special advantages that will be used during the match, such as instant penalties, stealing cards, knocking out the opposing player for two minutes, any goal scored in the next minute will be counted twice and a joke card. which instructors can choose to use any of the mentioned cards.

“It’s a circus,” explained La Liga president Javier Tebas, angered by the notion that the tournament could compete with La Liga’s weekend matches.

“The only thing that the King’s League is like football is that you play with the ball and you have to score goals. I can’t imagine doing card things in La Liga,” added Tebas.

The Spanish media, however, took the leader’s sarcasm as a sign of concern. At least in relation to the younger public, more interested in the new style, played every Sunday, the day when Espanyol’s most important matches are traditionally played.

Since its start, on January 1, League of Kings games have registered an average of 300,000 concurrent viewers and a peak of up to 800,000 on the Twitch streaming platform, according to data from TwitchTracker.

With 1.6 million subscribers, the channel collects 3.8 million watch hours during its live and VOD (video on demand) broadcasts.

With 12 registered teams, each round consists of six matches, all played consecutively every Sunday, with the first starting at 2:30 pm and the last at 9:00 pm (Brasília time).

The first round is contested on straight points and, after 11 rounds, the top eight seeded will compete in a knockout.

The list consists of 12 players, 10 selected by the “draft”, similar to what happens in American sports, and two “nationals”. The 11th player is the star who makes the team for the whole season and the 12th is the names that can change every cycle.

Kunisports’ 12th announcement was one of the most anticipated by fans. Piqu and Llanos took advantage of the criticism from the president of La Liga and presented an athlete dressed as a clown with a circus theme.

When he took off his mask, the face of former Argentina striker Sergio Agero emerged. In addition to protecting the team, he is the president of the team.

Chicharito Hernández of Mexico, Argentine Javier Saviola and Spaniards Ibai Gmez, Juan Capdevila, Victor Snchez and Jonathan Soriano are other names that replace professionals and former players.

“The public reception, not only in Spain but in other countries, has been very good. Even I, who is a professional and has a long life in many clubs, have felt this”, says Alberto Bueno.

In order to bring the fans closer to his new project, Piqu recently agreed that the final of the first edition of the League of Kings will be played in front of a large audience, at the Camp Nou stadium, a stage that he built a good part of. profession.

The deal to play at Barcelona was announced by former defender and club president, Joan Laporta. The match will be on March 26. The manager praised Piqu’s project.

“We know that soccer is losing its young audience. I congratulate you because you have invented a new type of fun soccer. We do not understand it as a circus, but as a new type of entertainment,” he said.