Hertha BSC become first Bundesliga club to form own esports academy

Matthias “STYLO” Hietsch, Hertha BSC

Hertha BSC will become the first Bundesliga club to form their own esports academy.
 
The German capital’s top team have partnered with the agency Stark eSports GmbH as they look to ‘discover and develop the best FIFA talents in the region’. 

Insurance firm AOK Nordost will also widen its connection to Hertha through this new project.

Hertha BSC have shown considerable commitment as well as their ambition and dedication to be a forward thinking club as they have become the first in Germany’s top division to create their own esports academy. 

The new year will see both tournaments and scouting events take place in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, with the purpose being to find the most talented young FIFA players around. The competition will be open to all those in the region aged between 12 and 18. 
 
The qualification tournaments will see two to four FIFA talents selected for the Hertha BSC Esports academy.

Working with the Head of the Academy Matthias “STYLO” Hietsch, who ended 2017 as one of Germany’s top FIFA talents; he took second at the Dreamhack event in Leipzig in 2016. He also made the final of the 2016 and 2017 virtual Bundesliga.

Paul Keuter, a member of the Hertha BSC board said of the news: “We have decided to take the decision and join the eSports industry and continue the tradition of going our own individual way about things. We want to boost our already successful footballing academy and take that success into the eSports and digital world. Our goal is to scout out a range of talents and develop a range of innovative and sustainable eSport professionals from Hertha BSC.”

As well as the development of the FIFA academy those chosen will be further educated in the area of digital media. The successful YouTuber Ben “NoHandGaming” Paul will act as host for the sessions. The Berlin-born, self-confessed Hertha fan maintains over 325,000 subscribers and has 55 million video views and counting on his FIFA-Gaming YouTube channel.

As mentioned, the insurance company AOK Nordost will broaden its partnership with Hertha by supporting the education of those on the esport programme. Hertha and AOK have been partners for a number of years and will aim to promote an active lifestyle with more exercise through the esports project.

Daniela Teichert, member of the AOK Nordost committee, said: “The partnership will allow us to spread the message of a healthy lifestyle to young children and their parents not just at the academy but at Bundesliga home games as well.A lot of people see eSports stars as ‘Couch potatoes’ but these professionals must be fit and healthy. As an insurance company we want to pass on tips and advice to these players so that they can pass on these ways of life to other of the same age who have a big interest in eSports.”

Hertha will work closely with STARK eSports GmbH in the planning and carrying out of these scouting events, as well as the setting up and looking after of  the Hertha BSC eSports academy itself. The agency already works with clubs including VfL Bochum, VfL Wolfsburg, Schalke, FC Basel and more.

As FIFA’s esports scene heads into 2018 there looks set to be a lot more buzz around it. The road to the FIFA eWorld Cup, which has replaced the FIFA Interactive World Cup, will see a lot more qualifier type competitions pop up prior to its culmination in July 2018. Gfinity has already made a big play by announcing FIFA as part of its next Elite Series. 
 
We’ve no doubt we’ll continue to see more investment from football clubs in the space in the coming months.

Esports Insider says: Huge news for Stark Esports as they continue to prove that they’re one of the leading agencies, particularly when it comes to connecting sports clubs to esports. Great for FIFA to have Hertha involved in the scene, and moreover, nice to see them doing far more than just signing a player or two and giving them shirts. All we want for Christmas is for more Premier League clubs to get involved!