Bundesliga and EA Sports extend deal

Bundesliga has extended its licensing rights deal with EA Sports, where the German league is set to continue appearing in the FIFA gaming series.

DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and Bundesliga International came to an agreement with the video game publisher that sees EA retain the exclusive license rights for match simulation. The deal includes Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2, the German Supercup as well as all clubs and players.

“In a relationship spanning more than 20 years, we have seen the rise and rise of EA SPORTS FIFA, to it becoming one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” CEO of Bundesliga International, Robert Klein said in a statement.

“Through EA SPORTS FIFA, fans across the globe are connected to the Bundesliga, its world-class players and unique clubs. We look forward to working with EA on multiple projects, this season and into the future.”

The German top-flight league said that continuation of the partnership allows for the competition to reach fans around the world and ensures the long-term presence of the league.

“Our partnership with Bundesliga further cements EA SPORTS FIFA as the most authentic, interactive football experience in the world. Only in FIFA 21 can the Bundesliga’s millions of fans play as all 18 clubs, from last year’s champions to newly promoted teams – stepping out in stadia from Paderborn’s Benteler-Arena, to the Stadion an der Alten Försterei in Berlin or even competing in Der Klassiker in front of Signal Iduna Park’s yellow wall,” Vice President and GM of EA SPORTS FIFA, Nick Wlodyka said.

“We’re excited to continue to build on our Bundesliga partnership, supporting the ambitious tech capabilities and esports vision of the DFL.“

Bundesliga said that they had a long-term commitment to both the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) and Esports. The partnership will see EA and the league continue to develop Esports competitions such as the VBL. The VBL Open has had 130,000 participants and was the most popular FIFA Esports competition out of the professional football leagues. The VBL Club Championship has also been run since 2018/19 and is competed by Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs.

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Football Victoria choose INTIX as exclusive ticketing provider

Football Victoria have confirmed a new and exciting partnership with ticketing and membership company INTIX, which will commence in 2024 in time for next season.

INTIX will become the exclusive ticketing provider for all FV-managed events and will be the preferred provider for events at The Home of the Matildas.

This collaboration will also make FV’s event management more efficient and improve communication with fans and sponsors through their CRM systems.

INTIX is an Australian owned and operated company that specialise in event operations, ticketing and marketing specifically for sporting events.

The company was established in 2017 by Alex Grant with an ambitious goal to provide the best ticketing platform available to event organisers, clubs and venues.

INTIX partnered with Melbourne Victory to provide digital ticketing for all its corporate hospitality functions, and they have worked many high-scale football events.

The company also has experience in the NBL with the Tasmanian JackJumpers and in 2021 worked with AFL Victoria to supply ticketing services to metropolitan leagues and clubs.

This partnership for FV scratches the surface for what is the possibility in the future for NPL and A-League matches that have completely different systems. The expensive processing fees of Ticketek and Ticketmaster have left many fans frustrated at the process of purchasing their ticket and success with this collaboration could see INTIX expand inside the sport of football.

FV Executive Manager of Commercial, Chris Speldewinde, spoke about the improvements to matchday operations that will be made through this collaboration.

“We are thrilled to join forces with INTIX. Their state-of-the-art ticketing and CRM solutions will not only optimise our operations but also elevate our engagement with fans and sponsors. This collaboration signifies an exciting new chapter for Football Victoria,” he said in a statement.

INTIX’s advanced ticketing system will simplify the purchasing of tickets to these events and be readily available to fans online, reducing wait times to provide seamless access into events.

As the Home of the Matildas begins to stage bigger events, this partnership importantly professionalises the experience of getting to the seat and helps FV manage big crowds a lot easier.

It’s a collaboration that allows FV to focus more on strategic growth initiatives and delivering a better experience for fans and stakeholders.

Uncertainty looms around National Second Tier’s future

The highly anticipated National Second Tier (NST) in its proposed format is set to be postponed by Football Australia, with the body looking to find alternative ways to include these NPL clubs into a similar structure that would be more financially viable.

Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news on Tuesday claiming the highly ambitious second tier was likely going to be put on hold after the original plan was to have 10 to 14 foundation clubs forming a separate league, without promotion or relegation to start.

There was a very high financial threshold that the eight foundation clubs needed to reach in order to be granted a licence and unfortunately with rumours of some in the eight sceptical of its viability, other NPL clubs with a proposal in the original plan have backed away from the idea for the time being.

For what is meant to be a ‘national competition’, having clubs from NSW and Victoria only is quite restricted but the search for a financially strong club outside of the two states, willing to take that massive financial risk, is a task that is too difficult in the country’s current state of football affairs.

There has been a lack of a clear message from Football Australia across the past 12 months. The eight foundation clubs were left on standby about important information like the correct format, whether it was going to expand to 10 or 12 teams that Football Australia promised multiple times, or when the league would actually kick off in winter of 2025 or beyond that considering the shaky A-League finances being the main subject of discussion surrounding the initial success of the NSD.

After the A-Leagues controversial call to reduce initial funding of top tier clubs to $530k a year from its usual $2m a year, a properly run second division seems like a task too far down its priority list despite the positive feedback it has received from fans and clubs about implementing a ‘transformative’ system mirroring European football.

An idea being floated around as a possible solution to the unviability of a separate league is to add existing A-League teams to the ‘Champions League-style’ second division, which would essentially be a more exclusive version of the existing Australia Cup.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson told The Asian Game exclusively that “we will have a (national) second tier it will exist,” but the home and away format played during the winter is a long shot and the foundation clubs are left in limbo wondering what their immediate futures are considering the heavy financial investment they will have to make if it goes ahead.

This whole saga has been a case of Football Australia pushing away the problems that quickly arose from this ambitious idea and being too reactive when it comes to finding a solution that would be fair for the foundation clubs financially.

The NSD must wait and not force itself into a fragile Australian football landscape that has many more issues it must worry about in the top flight before building a second division that could financially damage some of the most historic clubs in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where Australian football needs authority and structure, the collapse of the original idea of the NSD proves there is a long way to go and communication towards the clubs and fans involved has to improve.

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