Bundesliga trademarks names amid speculation it will launch its own ESports league

It feels like every week we’re bringing you more and more Esports news.

The sector seems to be growing at a frightening rate, and it’s beginning to look like it might take flight properly in the next few months.

For all the hype around the digital world in the pursuit, Esports is still a bit of a niche topic. There is a fairly natural and understandable debate about whether or not it can be considered a sport, for one. Though personally, I don’t really see why that should be a problem – I enjoy sitting down to watch lots of things that don’t involve running around, and I see no reason why I wouldn’t enjoy watching Esports if it’s being played between people who are genuinely excellent in their chosen discipline.

Well if Esports are your thing, it looks like you may well get your wish, as reports from website GamesLaw (in German) and via esportsobserver (in English) over the weekend suggest that the German football league, the Bundesliga, has filed a trademark for several esports related terms, including “DFL Esport Bundesliga,” “DFL Virtuelle Bundesliga,” “eBundesliga,” “iBundesliga”, “SportecSolutions,” and “DFL Sportec.”

There have been rumblings over the past few weeks that German football clubs have been seeking to get involved in the Esports craze themselves. Some, like VFL Wolfsburg and Schalke 04 have already recruited their own gamers, whilst just last week we wrote about how another eight German football teams were reportedly looking to get into the game.

Bayern Munich

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the Bundesliga is trademarking names and looking to create a league of its own. In fact, all the signs point to the Bundesliga taking this very seriously indeed: last year’s FIFA 16 was packed with all the official Bundesliga graphics if you played as a German team in career mode – it even had the League’s theme music!

This year, FIFA 17 features Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus on the cover. Dortmund may not see the connection between their club and some of the other Esports disciplines (if we can call them that). A spokesman for the club said the other week that, ‘the most popular and known Esports titles are not related to football, handball or table tennis [the club also has teams that take part in these sports]. Take for example League of Legends: It would be tough to set a natural connection between these games and the existent departments of our club.”

Although it might be hard to link Bundesliga clubs with League of Legends, it’s not hard to relate them to FIFA, especially if they all have official gamers.

And then there’s one final twist to the whole situation: the Bundesliga’s winter break means that German clubs won’t play games for a whole month between December 20th and January 20th. Pep Guardiola said last year that he felt the Bundesliga’s winter break was ‘boring’, and perhaps many fans feel the same.

Over the last few years, the Bundesliga has attempted to alleviate the boredom of the fans – not to mention keep its marketing / social media presence ticking over – by pushing their uber gimmicky ‘BunDucksLiga’ game. The idea was that clubs would all submit their own rubber ducks, which would then be raced against one another.

Perhaps this year a FIFA 17 tournament between all of the 18 Bundesliga teams might be a better way to kill the time!

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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