The German Football League (DFL), organisers of top two tiers of club football in Germany, have announced a partnership with American video games publishing company Electronic Arts (EA Sports) to launch a new esports competition.
The new tournament will enable clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 to compete against each other in the popular EA Sports FIFA video game series for the eFootball German club champion title. As it stands, 11 clubs from the two divisions have contracted gamers to represent them in professional competitions.
The news comes after German Football Association (DFB), the governing body of football in Germany, reportedly struck a deal this month with Infront marketing agency and with esports company Stark to launch its own esports league.
EA Sports is already a partner and licensee of the Bundesliga as part of a four-year deal which runs until 2022.
In 2012, the DFL launched the Tag Heuer Virtual Bundesliga to become the first major professional football league to operate a competition directly integrated with FIFA.
Now, the DFL will be working with EA Sports on the creation of a new competition which will be played as a soccer simulation game only.
DFL chief executive Christian Seifert, “Esports is highly popular among the younger generations, it has almost become part of everyday culture – in Germany and far beyond. With this as a background it is a right decision that clubs and the DFL further expand their engagement in this area. It is a matter of shaping the future and responding to changes in media consumption and leisure time in the digital age.”