Bundesliga steps up international esports activity with new tournament
German soccer's top-tier Bundesliga has launched a new international efootball tournament, the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) International Series.
The VBL International Series, set to start with a series of regional qualifiers in 21 countries across Southeast Asia and the Americas in the next month or so, aims to identify the best players of the FIFA game from those regions, and represents the Bundesliga’s first international foray in terms of esports.
The Bundesliga already runs several efootball tournaments, including the German Open, the eBundesliga, and the VBL Grand Final, the latter being a licensed qualifier for the FIFA 20 Global Series competition.
The Bundesliga has partnered with Battlefy, an online platform which hosts various esports competitions and leagues, to organise the new international tournament.
The winners from the country-specific matches will go through a set of continental qualifiers, one in Asia and one for the Americas. Once at the continental qualifiers, contestants will start to represent a specific Bundesliga club, and will do so for the rest of the competition.
The VBL International Final, featuring the overall winners from the qualifying stages, will take place in Germany in May.
Robert Klein, chief executive of Bundesliga International, said: “The last three years have really seen the VBL grow internationally with big tournaments in Chile, Malaysia and India… Together with professional teams, alongside our gaming partner EA Sports, we have brought something new and fun to the table.”
Andreas Heyden, executive vice president of digital innovation for the Bundesliga, said: “This competition is yet another milestone in the Bundesliga’s success story of establishing a leading global esports competition.”
The eBundesliga is broadcast in Germany by ProSieben MAXX, a free-to-air channel of commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, from a specially-designed studio.
Elsewhere in esports, snack food brand Pringles has renewed its partnership with the popular League of Legends European Championship.
Pringles will provide all snacks at the LEC Studios, and will also once again run exclusive promotions and offers for fans, throughout the LEC Spring Split in the upcoming 2020 season.
The brand first partnered with Riot Games, the video game developer that organises the LEC, prior to the 2019 edition.