Bundesliga fans will be able to continue playing as their favourite stars on the FIFA gaming series for years to come, after the DFL extended its collaboration with Electronic Arts.
EA, an official partner of Bundesliga since 1998 and one of the world’s leading video game publishers, will retain the exclusive license rights for match simulation. The extension of the partnership ensures the long-term presence and authentic presentation of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 as well as all clubs, players and the German Supercup in the EA SPORTS FIFA video game franchise. This creates a huge platform for the Bundesliga to reach fans around the world.
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“In a relationship spanning more than 20 years, we have seen the rise and rise of EA SPORTS FIFA, to it becoming one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” said Robert Klein, CEO of Bundesliga International, a subsidiary of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga. “Through EA SPORTS FIFA, fans across the globe are connected to the Bundesliga, its world-class players and unique clubs. We look forward to working with EA on multiple projects, this season and into the future.”
“Our partnership with Bundesliga further cements EA SPORTS FIFA as the most authentic, interactive football experience in the world. Only in FIFA 21 can the Bundesliga’s millions of fans play as all 18 clubs, from last year’s champions to newly promoted teams – stepping out in stadia from Paderborn’s Benteler-Arena, to the Stadion an der Alten Försterei in Berlin or even competing in Der Klassiker in front of Signal Iduna Park’s yellow wall,” said Nick Wlodyka, Vice President and GM of EA SPORTS FIFA. “We’re excited to continue to build on our Bundesliga partnership, supporting the ambitious tech capabilities and esports vision of the DFL.“
The partnership between the DFL and EA has constantly evolved in recent years, recently introducing awards such as “Player of the Month”, “Player of the Season”, “Team of the Week” and “Team of the Season”, in addition to joint DFL, club and EA campaigns. These programs have contributed to enormous engaging from players, with matches with Bundesliga clubs played in more than 200 FIFA member countries in FIFA 20.
Another key aspect of the cooperation will be the development of the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL). Since its creation in 2012 the Virtual Bundesliga has grown steadily and now delivers regular and high-production value TV broadcast content throughout the season. With more than 130,000 participants at last count, the single-player competition VBL Open is also the most popular FIFA esports competition of any professional football league. Since 2018/19, there has also been the VBL Club Championship, in which Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs compete. The two elements of the competition are brought together in the VBL Playoffs and then in the VBL Grand Final. The extension of the partnership provides a long-term commitment to the continuation of the Virtual Bundesliga and confirms the strategic relevance of the esports sector for the DFL.
In addition to the license rights for match simulations, the cooperation with EA also comprises other rights in the field of interactive entertainment products. All licences are considered technology-neutral, global and for implementation in all languages. Other license rights in the field of interactive entertainment products (e.g. manager simulations) are awarded separately by Bundesliga International, the DFL subsidiary in charge of the relevant marketing.