Despite its obvious growth in popularity in today’s sporting market, Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness still strictly opposes having any form of eSports at the club. Within the past couple of years, it’s quickly become an incredibly lucrative business worth millions of dollars and several Bundesliga clubs have already invested in eSports departments; RB Leipzig, Vfl Wolfsburg, VfB Stuttgart, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, and FC Nuremburg have all tapped into the competitive gaming industry already.
Even though Hoeness is reluctant to open an eSports department at Bayern is well known by most, ESL (Electronic Sports League) Deutschland CEO, Ralf Reichert urged him reconsider in a column by FOCUS magazine (via tz):
I recommend he enter this [eSports] market.
Despite the thriving market for eSports, Reichert was still rather despondent in the hopes that he’d get Hoeness to re-think his firm opposition to eSports:
I doubt that he’ll [Hoeness] listen to me.
Hoeness described the eSports business model as “total nonsense” and seems completely unwilling to budge on his stance. Back in June, he vetoed a motion at Bayern to start a digital sports department, and was one of the only members of the club’s front office that was opposed to the idea. Back at the beginning of the month, Hoeness again slammed the idea of introducing eSports at Bayern, as captured by tz:
It would be total nonsense if the state paid even a single euro for that. Young people should play sports on the training field. There are also efforts [for eSports] at FC Bayern. I’m against it. But I’m relatively alone in that.
To quote a piece from back in June when we covered Hoeness vetoing the motion at Bayern to start a competitive gaming department, it slightly contradicts the efforts and positive results yielded from the club’s first ever ‘HackDays’:
According to Hoeness, eSports do not fit the image and profile of Bayern Munich, despite how successful the club’s first ever HackDays were back in January. Competitive gaming, though, is quite different than the digitized components that were focused on during the HackDays to create a more engaging, interactive experience for Bayern fans.
There’s no denying the fact that Bayern Munich is a highly successful global brand, but it still begs the question; how much bigger could they be if the tapped into eSports? On the surface, it looks like quite a considerable missed opportunity in terms of revenue, outreach, and marketing. As reported by Az, the eSports market has absolutely taken off. To be specific, in 2016 global eSports sales were around $493 million and experts are anticipating that sales will top $900 million this year. In Germany, the figure of 50-million Euros is predicted to increase to an impressive 90-million Euros by the end of 2018.
We’d like to know what everyone thinks - time for a poll!
Should Uli Hoeness budge and let Bayern start an eSports department?
This poll is closed
Completely indifferent, don’t care.