Virtual Bundesliga joins the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup

Bundesliga International has announced that the TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) is officially joining the FIFA 18 Global Series on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup™ 2018. 

Todd Sitrin, EA Sports

The VBL has been running for some time, making this move for it to become an official qualifier for the eWorld Cup in the summer not particularly surprising. 

The question now is who will represent the Virtual Bundesliga in the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs* on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 this August. The VBL final will take place in the German Football Museum in Dortmund on March 31st and April 1st, with the winners on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 earning a spot in the Global Series Playoffs and, in turn, a chance to earn the title of FIFA eWorld Cup champion.

Todd Sitrin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA stated: “We’re expanding the EA SPORTS FIFA Global Series ecosystem and this VBL partnership increases our world reach through competitive gaming.

“Leagues such as the VBL make competitive FIFA mean more to millions of players around the world, either through the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent their favorite club on the global stage, or by providing fans a new way to connect with and support their favorite clubs.”

“The TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga has been extremely popular with EA SPORTS FIFA players and a huge part of how fans engage with and connect to our league,” noted Dominik Hahn, Head of Licensing at Bundesliga International. “We have had a very successful season to date, and we are excited to see the competition within the Virtual Bundesliga continue to grow and for our best players have the opportunity to compete for the ultimate prize in competitive FIFA.”

“The Virtual Bundesliga continues to be an elite competitive football hub and home to many of the best FIFA players in the world,’ said EA SPORTS FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner Brent Koning. “The VBL will maximize the talent and competitive spirt of the region as we continue to rapidly expand the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series.”

Germany has long been a hub of top notch FIFA, and it was VfL Wolfsburg who were amongst the very first professional clubs to make a move in esports by signing players. Since then we’ve seen numerous clubs make their own commitments, but this partnership with EA could spur the likes of Bayern Munich into entering too. 

EA Sports’ commitment to esports, or competitive gaming, has been turned up a notch this year. In FIFA alone we have seen major football leagues making their own moves; we now have the E-Divisie, the eMLS and e-ligue 1. Liga Portugal has also thrown its hat into the ring more recently, and the Russian Premier League clubs have players on their rosters. Not all of these are officially sanctioned road to the eWorld Cup tournaments, but all the same it’s major organisations committing to the FIFA scene. 

Away from football and over to the United States’ version of the beautiful game, just last week we saw news of a deal struck between EA Sports, the NFL, ESPN and Disney for the broadcasting rights of the upcoming EA Sports Madden NFL 18 Championship Series. There has also been ample speculation around an esports league for the NHL and we’ll see this soon rather than later if ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski is to be believed. 

Esports Insider says: The FIFA scene over in Germany is one which is chokablok with talent, and Bundesliga clubs such as VfL Wolfsburg committed to the scene back in the spring of 2015. This is good news for players from this region, and the VBL itself. Could this be the spark that lights the Bayern Munich esports fire?