On October 26th, the eSport Association Germany gave the go-ahead for the first popular sports league exclusively for clubs with eSport offerings in Germany. 12 registered clubs from all over Germany compete against each other in the video game titles “League of Legends” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”. The winner receives the highest award in amateur esports: the ESBD club cup.

According to the association, the "ESBD Club League 2019/2020" is organized and produced in cooperation with ESL, the world's largest eSports company, and Freaks 4U Gaming, the world's leading 360 ° marketing agency for gaming and eSports. "With the new league we are strengthening the amateur community in eSports and are paying particular attention to regionality and club culture," says ESBD-Hans Jagnow. “Our home is called eSports, and that is exactly what we focus on. We would like to bring the many talents and committed people from all over Germany together through the club league. "

The league will initially lead online over a table phase from October to December 2019. In the playoffs scheduled for the first half of January, it will be decided who will take part in the big offline final as part of the “DreamHack” gaming festival in Leipzig on January 24, 2020 may participate. The ESBD broadcasts all match days live on the streaming platform Twitch at twitch.tv/vereinsliga. Every Saturday and Sunday from 16 p.m., the highlight matches of the week can be seen there, commented on by experts from the German eSport community.

Every sport needs its equipment: In e-sports, it is, among other things, the gaming keyboard.

Every sport needs its equipment: In e-sports, it is, among other things, the gaming keyboard.

The aim of the league is to create more visibility for clubs, explains Martin Müller, Vice President for Popular Sports at the ESBD. “They have a special story that connects them with their homeland, and we want to give this local connection a place in eSport. Every region has its heroes. "

The ESBD was founded in November 2017 and represents the interests of 34 member organizations from the popular and top-level esports sector. The ESBD club cup will be awarded for the second time by the association next year. The players from Magdeburg eSports won the first final at the beginning of this year.

Stony path to social recognition

Clubs that practice e-sports as a popular sport not only fight for recognition of the charitable nature of their commitment, but also for their passion to be perceived as a sport at all. In both cases, gamers continue to encounter considerable resistance. That's how eSport fulfills, according to one Expert opinion of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) does not meet the legal conditions to be recognized as non-profit.

“E-sports don't exist. And it will not be included in the Olympic program, ”said DOSB President Alfons Hörmann categorically at the beginning of the year. The Hessian Interior and Sports Minister Peter Beuth came to a similar assessment. "E-sports is as little sport as knitting and playing the recorder," said the CDU politician.

The dispute over the sovereignty of interpretation does not change the steadily growing popularity of the industry and its economic power. According to forecasts, global eSports sales will increase from $ 865 million in 2018 to $ 1,79 billion in the next four years double. At the same time, the prize money at eSports tournaments is constantly growing. The current record is held by The International tournament series, with prize money exceeding $34 million in 2019.