Is the King’s League the Future of Football?

Is the King’s League the Future of Football?



Get ready football fans - there’s a new show in town, and chances are you haven’t seen anything quite like this! Seven-a-side football may not be a new concept. Seven-a-side football utilising a US draft-style selection system, featuring teams run by a mix of footballing legends and social media icons, in which the fans may vote on the rules of the game, certainly is.

Welcome to the Kings League. Established in 2022 by no less a footballing legend than nine-time La Liga winner, four-time Champions League winner, and European Championship and World Cup king Gerard Piqué.

Placing entertainment front and centre, this unique take on the game is proving a smash hit with the most influential generation on the planet, i.e. the under-25s, courtesy of its short 40-minute games (20 minutes each way), which cram in an array of madcap features.

Kings League Format

The King’s League comprises 12 teams, each run by either a footballing legend or a giant of the social media world – Iker Casillas, Sergio Aguera, and internet superstar Ibai Llanos are amongst the current club presidents.

Each president is responsible for assembling their 12-man squad. 10 players are selected using the US draft system – the bulk of the player pool consisting of players from sides in and around the Barcelona area. The additional two spots go to guest stars selected by the club president – this is where the really big names come in, with the likes of Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko, Javier Hernandez, Sergio Aguero, and Javier Saviola amongst the stars to have strutted their stuff in Kings League fixtures.

Each side plays every other team once a season, with each slate of six fixtures held in the same Barcelona venue on Sunday afternoon. With all regular season fixtures complete, the tournament moves into the knockout playoffs phase, and a champion is crowned. However, one Kings League season isn’t enough for a single year, with the competition operating both a summer and winter campaign, as commonly seen in the South American leagues.

King’s League Matches

Nothing too out of the ordinary so far, but events swerve away from the standard footballing model in the actual games. Each match consists of two 20-minute halves, but there can be no draws in the Kings League. If the sides are tied at the end of forty minutes, the game moves into an ice-hockey-style shootout. Previously used in the MLS, this system sees the attacking player begin with the ball on halfway before advancing and attempting to beat the keeper.

Unusual as the shootout system is, the most chaotic elements are set in motion ahead of the game. Before kick-off, each side selects a card at random. Each card features a secret weapon, which the team may play between half-time and the 38th minute. The range of secret weapons doesn’t appear set in stone, but previous perks have included:

  • Double Goal - When played, any goals scored by the team that played the card count double. This bonus lasts for four minutes
  • Sanction - The team may select any player on the opposing side. That player must then leave the pitch for four minutes
  • Penalty - The card playing team is awarded a penalty kick
  • Shootout - The card playing team is awarded a one-on-one shootout opportunity
  • Star Player - One player is selected to wear an armband. If he scores, the goal counts double and the secret weapon ends
  • Wildcard - A team may activate any secret weapon power of their choice or steal the card of the opposing team

The gamification of the game doesn’t end there. Before certain games, fans can vote on which rules they would like introduced - cue black pitches, games beginning with each side racing to the ball from the goal line, matches starting as 1 vs 1, with an additional player added every minute, club presidents taking penalty kicks, and much more besides.

How Big is the Kings League?

In a word - massive - with the potential to become even bigger still. Boasting 13m followers on digital platforms, over 80m streamed hours, and 82m tik-tok views, the King’s League is taking Generation Z by storm. The official Twitch Channel is the second most watched Spanish language programme in the world; King’s League fixtures have sold out Camp Nou and the Metropolitano, and 2024 sees the annual edition of the Kings League World Cup in Mexico.

Next Stop, Taking Over the World

The Kings League has already expanded behind Spanish borders. In 2023, the Américas Kings League was announced. Kicking off in 2024, this league features teams from Spanish-speaking countries across the American continent.

The Américas Kings League may be just the start of the Kings League explosion, with plans to introduce the format in France and Italy in 2024, England and Germany in 2025, and Asia in 2026.

Can You Bet on the King’s League?

Not only is the Kings League huge in terms of viewers – many games attract a bigger audience than La Liga fixtures – it also threatens to explode on the betting scene. Many firms have already cottoned on to the immense potential of this innovative twist on the global game, with BetWay and 10Bet among those to have offered odds on Kings League fixtures.

Top 20 Betting Offers

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