Is an official esports Bundesliga on the horizon?
Germany’s national soccer league is calling for bids for “interactive entertainment products” of the first and second division’s next season. The tender explicitly mentions the sale of an esports license. It’s unclear, however, what the tendered licenses buy you exactly, and the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The announcement says that the DFL, which runs the Bundesliga, is offering individual rights to create match and manager simulation products. A license for the esports category can only be acquired together with a match simulation license, the press release reads.
Interested companies can bid for rights packages until March 27, 2017. Suitable companies will receive a procedure letter by the start of April, 2017. This letter is also set to include the rules of the tender process. The exact scope and content of the rights packages will be detailed by documents provided to eligible companies by the end of April.
It’s unclear what the DFL plans or expects by selling these rights. The DFL is no newcomer when it comes to competitive FIFA, however. Since 2012, DFL and EA SPORTS have cooperated on the “Virtuelle Bundesliga,” a FIFA game mode that virtually mirrors the Bundesliga season.
“In this tender licenses in the categories Match Simulation, a game simulating a football match, E-Sport, an official competition of players and/or teams competing in a Match Simulation, and Manager Simulation, a game simulating the tasks of a club manager, will be offered,” DFL Sports Enterprises wrote in a press release on behalf of the DFL umbrella organization. In Oct. 2016, the DFL also secured naming rights to multiple esports-oriented brands, including “eSport Bundesliga.”
The DFL appears to be looking to double down on its venture into the digital sphere. While it’s hard to imagine what exactly the rights could be used for, or at what price they might come, the DFL seems to be confident in finding buyers quickly, considering a tender period of only one week.