Matchday and Lionel Messi's Firm Raise Money to Invest in New Football Video Games

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 04: Lionel Messi #30 of Paris Saint-Germain controls the ball during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Nantes at Parc des Princes on March 4, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Matchday announced Wednesday that it has raised $21 million in a seed funding round, which will go toward the creation of “casual football (soccer) video games.”

One of Matchday’s partners and investors is Play Time, which is an investment firm owned by Argentine soccer legend and 2022 FIFA World Cup winner Lionel Messi.

Matchday’s project has been endorsed by both FIFA and FIFPRO, and Matchday co-founder and chief gaming officer Sebastien de Halleux explained the company’s goal in a press release:

“We will build and publish football-focused games to celebrate our love of the game. At Matchday, we are all united around the dream of new types of football games to serve the sport’s massive fan base. Our games will be accessible for all players, and centered around true ownership of digital items that will be a point of pride for all players.”

Through a multi-year partnership with FIFA, Matchday has the rights to produce games that include the men’s and women’s World Cups, professional soccer leagues and teams, and top soccer players from across the world.

Matchday intends to create “a new category of play for football fans as they build their squads and collect digital cards of their favorite footballers.”

In some ways, the concept sounds similar to the popular Madden Ultimate Team feature, which has captivated American football fans for years as part of the Madden NFL video games franchise.

EA Sports’ FIFA video game franchise consistently produces one of the most popular sports video games in the world, but Matchday is seemingly attempting to create games that can reach an even wider audience and are perhaps easier to pick up and play.

Matchday had some success with the limited-time Matchday Challenge: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Edition during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, yielding 600,000 signups, and now it has plans to release additional video games this year.