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Will German eSports be recognized as a sport?

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Will German eSports be recognized as a sport?
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From now on, German eSports will be supported by a national association. Can eSports become an actual sport in Germany? Violent games are still causing trouble in that regard.

 

Germany’s gaming culture was quick to embrace competitive eSports. Many important clubs were actually founded on German soil. Historic organizations such as SK Gaming, Alternate aTTaX or the Electronic Sports League (ESL) have transformed international eSports into this enormous industry that now attracts millions of viewers and sponsors such as Audi or Adidas. With all these important steps, however, one has constantly been omitted. Now, 20 of the biggest German organizations have caught up:

Last month, the eSports-Bund Deutschland (ESBD, or “eSports Association of Germany”) was founded in the city of Frankfurt. The implications are huge, since virtually all the major German teams are aligning themselves with the new association. The responsibilities of the ESBD are numerous, Vice President Niklas Timmermann explains: “Potential examples would be creating models to govern how to set up registered clubs, professional teams, player contracts and so forth, or serving as an arbiter in disputes or when harmonizing sets of rules,” Timmermann says. “Beyond that, probably the most important thing is that this field gets a voice that can politically represent players and teams alike.” 

The Mysterious Monkeys, one of Germany’s top teams, is now part of an eSports federation

Players, teams no longer fending for themselves

The Mysterious Monkeys are one of the teams that have joined forces with the ESBD. The club is being represented by the company ad hoc gaming GmbH and its CEO, Ben Hamana. With the ESBD, he sees a chance to carry eSports right into the center of society. “It is crucial now to organize, to create professional structures and to act in unity. For too long every team had to look after itself on its own, now we can do this with one voice thanks to the association.

But how, exactly? Hamana explains that officers of the ESBD meet up in a committee to discuss important matters. There, a representative of the teams and players relays their questions and works with them closely on all issues. However, it’s the job of the teams to come together: “The professional teams communicate in various groups about various relevant topics and the essence of this gets brought to the [ESBD] committee.

For a competitive industry that cannot rely on a long history of joint structures and unified rules, this comes as a refreshing and important step. It ensures that the voices of players and teams alike can be heard. “The association acts for its members and not for any other group or even for its own economic gain,” Hamana asserts.

Even Angela Merkel made her way to the Cologne games expo ‘Gamescom’ this August

A lobby group, even at the Olympic level

But it’s not just the individual matters of the teams that are on the agenda, the ESBD will also promote German eSports on a political level. As a result of the ESBD’s founding, an eSports representative has taking part in a meeting of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) for the first time ever. “The founding of this association is an important and satisfactory step, because now we have a body to turn to discuss this exciting topic,” DOSB President Alfons Hörmann said at last month’s meeting.

eSports hoping for favorable tax status

The prospects of eSports being formally recognized as a “sport” in Germany — with all the legal and tax benefits that can bring — now appear increasingly realistic.

ESBD Vice President Timmermann is optimistic and stresses how important this is for electronic competition: “We want to secure ‘sports’ status for eSports and thereby enable players to access the benefits that come along with it, like public funding, assistance with their travel, and so on. We will work towards this, and hopefully succeed.”

The German government has also sent positive signals this year. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s appearance at Gamescom in August showed that the topic had finally hit German politicians’ radars. However, violent games in particular can cause a lot of trouble in this dialogue, as a recent statement from the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has shown: “We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line.

An inclusion of non-violent games has not been ruled out however, and considering that the Asian Games will include eSports as a part of their 2022 competition, it’s at least conceivable that eSports might be incorporated into the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

So can eSports become a sport in Germany? The scene knows how important a resolution to this question is for both teams and players, although there seems to be no concrete answer in sight. However, the ESBD’s foundation lays the groundwork for more political talks on the matter.

 

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Aquisitions/Mergers

GIANTX acquires League of Legends AI coaching start-up, iTero Gaming

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  • Global gaming and esports brand GIANTX has acquired UK AI Esports Coaching start-up, iTero Gaming in a multi-million deal.
  • The new acquisition will offer AI coaching for GIANTX fans and competitive gamers globally across the leading title League of Legends, targeting players looking to improve and elevate their gameplay.
  • iTero Gaming Founder, Jack Joseph Williams, has also become the esports organisation’s new Head of Gaming Technology.
  • This acquisition paves the way for future innovations in AI-driven performance enhancement and strategic development in the global gaming and esports industry

Today, global gaming and esports brand GIANTX (GX) is proud to announce the acquisition of iTero Gaming, a UK start-up specialising in AI coaching solutions for competitive gamers. The acquisition represents a significant milestone for the gaming and technology industry, highlighting the growing integration of AI in esports.

With a focus on the title League of Legends, the multi-million deal represents the company’s ongoing commitment to the global esports community through delivering precise, individualised coaching for gamers looking to enhance their competitive performance. Integrating iTero’s innovative AI technology will also enable GIANTX to provide tailored training and strategic insights to its global fanbase. Founder of iTero Gaming, Jack Joseph Williams, has also become the esports organisation’s new Head of Gaming Technology following the acquisition.

The iTero Gaming League of Legends coaching app has amassed nearly a quarter million installs in less than two years, harnessing AI to pinpoint player weaknesses and optimise pre-game setup. Analysing millions of games every patch, their state-of-the-art AI assesses which champions from your pool would excel in team drafts, and suggests enemy bans, optimal runes, and item builds. During matches, it also offers real-time tools such as objective timers to support players striving for a competitive edge in destroying the enemy nexus.

With a shared vision to educate and elevate competitive players globally, the acquisition will harness both companies’ strengths to create an advanced training ecosystem that supports player development at every level. With ambitions to become the leading tool on the market for those looking to improve their gameplay in League of Legends, they are set to revolutionise the competitive gaming landscape, offering resources that cater to the needs of both professional and aspiring competitive gamers.

Proving popular among esports enthusiasts already, the app also aligns perfectly with the interests of esports fans following top-tier teams like GIANTX, looking to improve their gameplay strategies significantly. With access to over 500 account statistics for review, the potential for refining gameplay is endless.

The acquisition represents a significant milestone for the gaming and technology industry, highlighting the growing integration of AI in esports. iTero Gaming’s AI coaching offers a glimpse into the transformative potential of AI across the broader tech landscape, demonstrating how traditional coaching on classic esports titles such as League of Legends can be transformed. This acquisition not only sets a new benchmark for competitive training but also paves the way for future innovations in AI-driven performance enhancement and strategic development in gaming and esports.

Founder of iTero Gaming, Jack J, is a former financial analyst at HSBC who channelled his passion for AI into developing predictive models for esports competition outcomes in his spare time. This endeavour evolved into iTero Gaming, where he began offering decision-making tools for League of Legends players. iTero Gaming launched its app in September 2022, quickly amassing over 10,000 installs, along with glowing 5-star reviews and strong user retention rates. This success validated iTero Gaming’s product-market fit and potential to disrupt the gaming industry with the innovative use of AI.

GIANTX (GX) was formed from the amalgamation of London-based Excel Esports and Malaga-based Giants Esports last year. This strategic merger has consolidated the esports organisation’s position as a dominant force in global esports, with headquarters in London and Malaga, alongside a state-of-the-art performance centre in Berlin. This union has since supported GIANTX’s goals for global expansion, solidifying its status as a leading team across multiple competitive titles, supported by an unparalleled fan base.

Tim Reichert, Co-CEO of GIANTX, said: “We are thrilled to announce our acquisition of iTero Gaming to help elevate player performance to new heights! This marks a pivotal moment in GIANTX’s ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence in esports, empowering players worldwide to achieve their competitive best. We are excited to harness this new technology to optimise our team’s training during practice to unlock the full potential of our pro players and the global gaming community.”

Jose Diaz, Co-CEO of GIANTX, said: “We are excited to welcome AI pioneer Jack J to the GIANTX team. This acquisition represents a significant milestone in advancing AI in the gaming industry. The potential to enhance gameplay and provide tailored insights is enormous, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have on the gaming community”

Jack J, Founder of iTero Gaming emphasises: “I’m excited to be joining the GIANTX team. EXCEL ESPORTS was the first esports team I became a fan of and I’ve followed their journey over the last few years. I believe and have always believed that data and AI have the potential to seriously disrupt the status quo of esports, whether that’s finding undervalued players or identifying strategies outside of the standard meta. I think esports is ready for the future and I’m really looking forward to what comes next working alongside GIANTX.”

 

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eSports

Esports Charts partners with ESI Lisbon 2024

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The Esports Charts team is pleased to announce our strategic partnership with the ESI Lisbon event, organized by Esports Insider, a leading business events and media company. We invite you to visit our stand at the expo from September 23 to 25 to learn more about our products and services, and to engage with the team.

This partnership marks a significant opportunity for Esports Charts to connect with industry professionals and enthusiasts, showcasing our commitment to supporting the esports community. We look forward to fostering new relationships and exploring potential collaborations during the event.

Esports Charts will be represented by Sergii Rudenko, Head of Sales and Partnerships, and Bruno Reis, Sales and Partnerships Manager at Esports Charts.

Additionally, Sergii Rudenko will join a panel discussion, Building Blocks: Growing a Community and a Competitive Scene, which will take place on September 25 at 12:15 – 12:35 BST (15:15 – 15:35 GET). Together with other participants who will be unveiled shortly, he will discuss the nuances and challenges of building a dedicated gaming community, the difficulties sponsors deal with, and much more.

ESI Lisbon, one of the biggest b2b events in esports, will take place at MEO Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. The venue will feature two stages for presentations and five zones for exhibitors, categorized into Esports, Tech, Publishers, Education, and Creator Economy. This three-day event will be packed with various activities and events, including a forum covering legal questions that affect the global esports industry and gatherings with leading figures in the esports industry, including tournament operators, teams, sponsors, and more.

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eSports

Esport Sponsorship Update: Acer Predator enters content partnership with BIG

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Berlin International Gaming (BIG), Germany’s premier esports organization, is thrilled to announce a new strategic content partnership with Acer Predator, a leading global brand in gaming hardware. Right before their upcoming event at BLAST Premier Fall Group-Stage in Copenhagen and IEM Cologne, this partnership marks a significant milestone for BIG as Acer Predator becomes their official supplier of gaming PCs, gaming laptops, and gaming displays for the organization. Predator offers a large portfolio of top notch gaming hardware that allows our talents to realize their full potential.
With this partnership, Acer Predator will provide state-of-the-art gaming hardware for BIG’s esport facility in Berlin. The partnership covers BIG’s male teams in CS2, Fortnite, League of Legends, Tekken, StarCraft and Trackmania, and also includes the organization’s prestigious CS2 female team BIG EQUIPA.
As part of the partnership, both Acer Predator and BIG will work on an innovative content strategy in order to connect deeply with the German gaming community. Both partners are also planning several offline activations at upcoming major events, including IEM Cologne 2024, which will take place from August 16-18 at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne.
Statements

Daniel Finkler, CEO of BIG: “We are thrilled and proud to welcome Acer Predator as an official partner to the BIG family. With their tremendous expertise and cutting edge gaming technology, we can keep BIG’s HQ in Berlin well equipped with high-end gaming hardware for our athletes. A special thanks goes also to SPORTFIVE for facilitating this partnership. Welcome to the BIG family, Predator.”

Sung-Hun Choi, Director Marketing Acer DACH: “We are excited to partner with BIG, one of the leading esports organizations in Germany. This collaboration underscores our commitment to connecting with the gaming community by supporting top-tier esports talent with next-gen gaming hardware, delivering the best gaming experience possible.”
About Berlin International Gaming (BIG)
Berlin International Gaming (BIG) is a premier esports organization headquartered in Germany. With professional teams and players competing in six top games, including major esports titles like Counter-Strike 2 and League of Legends, BIG has firmly established itself as one of the most powerful esports organizations globally. Securing multiple major competition victories and winning over USD 3,000,000 in prize money since its foundation in 2017, BIG is renowned for its competitive achievements as the most successful club from Germany. Continuously captivating audiences globally with its exceptional talent and dedication to esports, BIG stands at the forefront of the industry.

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