VfB Stuttgart Board of Directors: This is how Alexander Wehrle plans the return of esports – VfB Stuttgart

Alexander Wehrle wants to re-create esports in VFB Stuttgart. Photo: Imago / Sven Simon


VfB Stuttgart plans to return to the world of esports after closing its successful venture two years ago due to economic reasons. Now the transformation is happening – with the goal of having a virtual German Bundesliga.

VFB Stuttgart has never separated from the esports project. The official Twitter account of the Stuttgart esports team still exists, even if it has been inactive for nearly two years. “VfB cannot continue its esports activities for the new season until further notice due to the economic impacts of Corona,” the last post read. Previously, three years were invested in this topic and a multi-headed team was formed, thus connecting such famous players as “Marlut96”, “DrErhano” and “Burak_May” to themselves.

Virtual Bundesliga as the third major brand in the German Bundesliga

Now back. The people of Stuttgart are planning to go back – because they too have to. As early as December, the German Football Association made it clear to its members that the topic of the Virtual German League (VBL) should play a bigger role in the future. The Bundesliga introduced this again in 2012 – making it a world leader. The so-called “VBL Club Championship” has been in place since the 2018/19 season, with a total of 26 clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 participating in the current season 2021/22.

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The Virtual Bundesliga will now be established as the third major brand in the DFL alongside the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. According to information from our editorial team, the management of the DFL under new Managing Director Donata Hopfen goes so far as to firmly entrench this in licensing standards. As of the 2023/24 season, each of the 36 professional clubs in Germany must maintain an e-sports team that competes in the virtual German Bundesliga. A similar adjustment to the standards will be made officially soon.

Wehrle already saw esports as a pioneering project in 1. FC Köln

At VfB Stuttgart they are open to these considerations – which in turn have a lot to do with Alexander Wehrl. “We don’t just want to meet the requirements, we want to use the topic strategically,” says VfB’s new CEO. “Esports provides the opportunity to reach young fans and discover a VfB area of ​​work that can also further our core business of professional football in the long term.” The fact that the topic is not new to VfB is also helpful. “We are not starting from scratch because we have already gained experience in esports. But we are still starting again in this field and we will take the time to make it work and be able to start 2023 with a competitive team.”



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Wehrle already saw the eSports topic as a beacon project in 1. FC Köln and was the driving force behind the efforts. Among other things, it was able to win Mercedes-Benz as sponsor and co-investor after the company withdrew from its VfB esports sponsorship. Together they acquired “SK Gaming” and incorporated the famous team into the club. On the other hand, to promote the transfer of a certain image, to associate new and young target groups with the club. On the other hand, as a strategic investment through which to generate significant income.

“Regardless of the specific structure, it is clear to me that important strategic issues must always be considered and secured independently of short-term sporting or economic events,” says the 47-year-old, referring to VfB Stuttgart. “It is certainly more complex for the Bundesliga club than in other sectors. But we lose a lot of substance and sustainability if we do not constantly occupy and develop strategic areas. Esports is just one example of that.”

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