The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga has partnered with ESL, the world’s largest esport company to operate the media production for the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL).
The partnership starts with immediate effect and sees ESL obtain the media rights for the VBL.
ESL will produce the coverage for VBL Club Championship matches. The coverage will be livestreamed on VBL social media channels – and includes a virtual studio, and a presenter.
The VBL is an esports competition which started in 2012 and sees Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 teams compete against each other. The Bundesliga was the first professional football league to launch an official esports football competition.
The DFL said it wants to “meet the growing interest in eSport even more comprehensively”. ESL has been given the chance to license the media rights to other distribution partners, while the 26 clubs competing in the VBL will also be able to broadcast their matches via their own channels.
“The Virtual Bundesliga is already the most authentic representation of a football league in EA Sports FIFA. We want to continue establishing it as a digital competition,” EVP Digital Innovations at the DFL, Andreas Heyden said.
“To that end, we have secured a partner in ESL that has already proven its ability to successfully grow eSport competitions and communities worldwide – including in the area of football simulations. We would like to make the VBL even more alive and exciting, and ESL has the necessary experience and passion to do just that.”
The DFL believes that this partnership will develop and professionalise the Virtual Bundesliga.
“eFootball has been an integral part of the Esport community and of ESL for many years now,” Co-CEO of ESL, Ralf Reichert said.
“Together with the DFL, the most important sports league in Germany, we want to develop the VBL further to make it a renowned sports league and take it to the next level. That way, we can authentically transfer the emotions and values of football to the digital world and make the Virtual Bundesliga accessible to all, whether as a fan or an athlete.”
The 2020-21 season of the VBL Club Championship starts on November 10.