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Virtual Bundesliga eSports Tournament for EA SPORTS FC 24

The upcoming 2023/24 season of the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) is ushering in exhilarating new additions. With a total of 35 clubs participating, a transition to FC 24 Ultimate Team mode, and an enlarged prize pool in the Club Championship, the stakes have never been higher.

As VBL competitions integrate with the inaugural year of EA SPORTS FC Pro, this season promises heightened competition and global engagement. Dive into the article to discover more about the new entrants and what’s in store for eSports enthusiasts.

What is Virtual Bundesliga?

In 2012, a significant stride was made in the realm of eSports when the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga launched the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), in partnership with EA SPORTS, marking the first instance of a professional football league initiating its own eSport competition. The VBL has seen a consistent rise in popularity since its inception and holds the unique distinction of being the sole competition from a professional league to be directly integrated into the EA SPORTS FIFA game series.

The growing allure of VBL, coupled with the broader surge in eSport engagement and the DFL’s emphasis on football simulations, paved the way for the inauguration of the VBL Club Championship in the 2018-19 season. This tournament structure has clubs first competing within two geographically delineated divisions (North-West and South-East), culminating in a final showdown to crown the German eSports club champion. The VBL comprises three segments of competition, thereby providing a comprehensive platform for eSports contests.

Amidst the rising popularity of VBL, there has also been a noticeable growth in the interest from the betting community. An overview of established gambling websites reveals a burgeoning market for bets related to VBL events, reflecting the growing enthusiasm surrounding virtual football competitions.

Players vying for the coveted title of German eSports Champion have the opportunity to qualify through various channels, with one or two players advancing from each of the final tables. The pinnacle event, known as the VBL Grand Final, sees competitors play for a prize purse of €100,000 alongside the prestigious title. This layered competition format not only fuels the rivalry but also elevates the stakes of the championship.

As part of a global outreach initiative, the DFL has also introduced the Virtual Bundesliga International Series, aiming to enthrall fans worldwide with the excitement of eSports and the Bundesliga.

What’s New for the 2023/24 season?

Now, fast-forwarding to the inaugural year of EA SPORTS FC Pro, the VBL competitions are slated to play a pivotal role. With the onset of the 2023/24 season in November, a total of 35 clubs are gearing up to partake in the VBL Club Championship. According to Jörg Höflich, the Head of Virtual Bundesliga at the DFL, this season is set to witness the largest participant lineup since the inception of the VBL Club Championship, with eight additional teams joining the fray. Among the new entrants are three clubs from the Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund, Sport-Club Freiburg, and FC Bayern Munich, while the second Bundesliga sees Fortuna Düsseldorf, SV Elversberg, 1. FC Magdeburg, VfL Osnabrück, and SV Wehen Wiesbaden making their debut.

The competition retains its geographic divisional format, with clubs assigned to either the North-West or South-East divisions. This season also brings a significant change in gameplay as clubs have opted to transition from “95 Mode” to “Ultimate Team” mode, aligning with the desires of many players and fans. This shift allows participants in the VBL Club Championship to assemble their teams from a broader pool of players across all Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs, a feature already available in the VBL Open Playoffs and the VBL Grand Final.

The conclusion of the VBL Club Championship is scheduled for 23 and 24 March 2024, where, in addition to the championship trophy, an enlarged prize money pool of 87,500 euros is up for grabs. Preceding this, the VBL Open, which commences on 1 November, provides an open platform for all interested players to qualify for the VBL Open Playoffs over a span of four months. The playoffs will merge the best from the VBL Open and the VBL Club Championship, leading to the VBL Grand Final, where the German eSports champion will be crowned.

Moreover, the top two performers in the VBL Grand Final will secure a vital spot in the EA SPORTS FC Pro World Championships, offering them a chance to vie for the title of the first ever EA SPORTS FC Pro champion against a global roster of top players.

Reigning champion Antonio “Antonio Radelja” Radelja will undoubtedly be a player to watch as the new season unfolds with all matches to be played on EA SPORTS FC 24.

How are the divisions organized?

For the 2023/24 season, the divisions are meticulously organized, with 35 clubs split between the North-West and South-East divisions. In the North-West division, newcomers Borussia Dortmund, Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfL Osnabrück, and 1. FC Magdeburg are set to commence their inaugural season.

Conversely, the South-East division welcomes FC Bayern Munich, SC Freiburg, SV 07 Elversberg, and SV Wehen Wiesbaden, with the latter rejoining after a stint in the 2019/20 season and Hertha BSC returning to the South-East after a year in the North-West. The divisional distribution was carried out based on geographical parameters in line with VBL game rules.

The precise schedule detailing all matchups during the regular season can be found on virtual.bundesliga.com. The season’s curtain-raiser is scheduled for 18 November, marking a new chapter in the competitive eSports landscape under the Virtual Bundesliga banner.

About Christian Silvestri

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Content Writer for FIFA Infinity. Passionate about football, FIFA and AC Milan!

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