Digital Sports: “eSports on the Way to the Top”

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With digitization, the topic of eSports is becoming increasingly important. A new billion-dollar market is emerging worldwide; even the DOSB now has digital sports on its agenda. ISPO Academy Connect is devoting an evening to this topic, asking with a manager at FC Schalke 04 whether the new will replace traditional sports.

Visitors of the Dreamhack in Leipzig.
Visitors of the Dreamhack in Leipzig.

eSports is becoming more and more prominent in Germany. As recognition as a sport is already anchored in the coalition agreement of the German government, the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) is now also involved in a working group with digital athletes. eSports, as the largest growth market in the sports business, is challenging classic sports.

The fourth edition of ISPO Academy Connect is also addressing the topic under the motto “eSports on the Way to the Top.” On April 26, the event series will be hosted at Campus M21 in Munich. Five experts will be present to give specialist presentations on developments in the industry.

ISPO Academy Connect aims to approach the topic from different perspectives. That is why guests like Niklas Timmermann, the vice-president of the eSport-Bund ESBD, the German association for the promotion of sports, will be speakers at Campus M21.

A former soccer player as head of eSports at FC Schalke 04

Tim Reichert, Chief Gaming Officer at the Bundesliga soccer team FC Schalke 04, will also be speaking. Reichert is a former professional soccer player – he knows both ‘traditional’ and digital sports from the inside out, and can provide information on how soccer clubs have already positioned themselves in the eSports sector. In May 2016, Schalke was one of the first soccer clubs to establish an eSports department. Schalke has thus taken a pioneering role in Germany. Michael Berchtold, Managing Director of the consulting company eSportsReputation, talks about the players – and how they’re marketing themselves.

By contrast, Stefan Zant of ProSiebenSat.1 Sports GmbH, which broadcasts the spectacles on ProSieben Maxx and, on the other hand, knows how to report on an eSports event. Caroline Pilz, Head of Product Placement and Fashion Sponsorship at Mercedes-Benz, gives an insight into the sponsor perspective.

Questions the speakers will deal with are likely to include: Could well-known sporting events be surpassed by thrilling eSports competitions and a lot of emotionality in the future? What characteristics, opportunities, and perspectives does eSports offer? What role will the media play? How are people coming to grips with the market?

DOSB working on recommendations for dealing with eSports

This could also provide information for the DOSB. They’re currently working with 20 experts from sports associations, the games industry, education, law, science, and youth organizations on recommendations for dealing with eSports for organized sports in Germany.

“We’ve heard different perspectives and contrary views from the experts. In the follow-up meeting, we want to swap ideas with sports clubs and gamers to determine points of contact and separations in practice and clarify mutual expectations,” says Veronika Rücker, chief executive of the DOSB.