The German Football League (DFL) has entered into a strategic partnership with Sweden-based ESL, the world’s largest esports company, to further develop the Virtual Bundesliga.
The VBL has been running since 2012, when the Bundesliga became the first professional football league in the world to launch an official efootball competition.
The new collaboration will see the Modern Times Group-owned ESL bring its vast knowledge and experience in the esports sector to the competition, with the company taking over all media production responsibilities for the VBL.
It will produce featured matches in the VBL Club Championship – the domestic competition for the esports teams of clubs in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga – including generating the international stream and creating a virtual studio, starting with the kick-off of the new season tomorrow (November 10). It will also provide the same service for the end-of-season VBL Grand Final tournament.
ESL has also acquired the media rights to the VBL, and will look to secure distribution partnerships around the world, in addition to the coverage already provided by the 26 competing clubs, who retain the rights to broadcast matches on their own digital channels.
The news follows the major announcement earlier this year that ESL had merged with sister company DreamHack to create a new umbrella company, ESL Gaming. Although the operations have been combined under one company, the ESL and DreamHack brand names will remain independent, with the DreamHack festival name to be maintained.