Germany’s Bundesliga appears set to be the first to launch its own trademarked and official esports league featuring club professionals.
GamesLaw reported that the league has filed legal documents for the following names; ‘DFL Esport Bundesliga’, ‘DFL Virtuelle Bundesliga’, ‘eBundesliga’, ‘iBundesligai’, ‘SportecSolutions’ and ‘DFL Sportec’.
On the one hand this suggests that nothing is set in stone and it could very much still be in the discussion stages. But for this action to be taken, discussions are at the very least being taken extremely seriously by the powers that be.
In terms of sports simulation esports, German club Wolfsburg has led the way in investing the esports and is a big believer in the crossover with football and FIFA. It now has three FIFA players on its books. These are Englishman David ‘DaveBTW’ Bytheway, and German pair Benedikt ‘SaLz0r’ Saltzer and Timo ‘TimoX’ Siep.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Schalke 04 purchased League of Legends team Elements and rebranded them into S04 Esports. The likes of Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin and more are believed to be very interested in entering esports in some form too. With FIFA the most popular entry point for football clubs to date (see West Ham, Man City, Sporting Lisbon amongst others) it’s widely expected that more Bundesliga clubs will appoint their own FIFA player before any further moves into other esports titles.
Of major football clubs globally only Valencia, Schalke, Dynamo Moscow (via a partnership with Tornado ROX) and more recently PSG currently have rosters in other esports.
Should an esports Bundesliga be created, there’ll be many other leagues watching with great interest. Wolfsburg led the way for clubs so perhaps now the Bundesliga must lead the way for leagues. The likes of the EPL, Ligue 1 and La Liga will keep a close eye on proceedings, and with the FIWC 2017 final in London and the debut of its club component; it wouldn’t be too much of a leap to expect an esports EPL and perhaps Champions League sooner rather than later.
Esports Insider says: With Marco Reus on the cover of FIFA 17, and the much discussed investment by EA which should lead to an expansion of FIFA’s competitive gaming scene, the time is ripe for an eBundesliga.