German soccer league Bundesliga has partnered with online esports tournament platform Battlefy to launch the Virtual Bundesliga International series, a new esports competition for the FIFA video game. The Bundesliga originally launched the VBL in 2012, which is directly integrated into the EA Sports’ FIFA series.
The series will kickoff in March, with regional online qualifier tournaments in 19 countries (Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Brunei, the Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, East Timor and Vietnam.)
Winners from the regional tournaments will then compete in an in-person continental qualifier. Those locations have yet to be announced but the tournaments will be broadcasted by local broadcast partners and all competing gamers will receive a kit from the Bundesliga that represents the team they’re playing as. The final stage will be the VBL International Finals held in May in Germany. Qualified FIFA players will be flown to meet professional Bundesliga and professional VBL players and visit select Bundesliga clubs.
“Combining the online and offline world of football, the VBL International Series merges the passions of a new generation of gamers and Bundesliga fans around the world,” Andreas Heyden, EVP, Digital Innovations at DFL Group, said in a press release.
Heyden was recently interviewed as part of SportTechie’s Tech Talks series.