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HomeEsports"Aiming for the 1st division": VfB Stuttgart present new LoL team

“Aiming for the 1st division”: VfB Stuttgart present new LoL team

VfB Stuttgart have confirmed the cryptic announcements of the last few days: The Swabians are fielding their own LoL team for the first time and will be competing in the Prime League from June – but the proclaimed path to the top is a long one

VfB Stuttgart’s new LoL team is still a long way from finishing runners-up in the top flight, as it did in the Bundesliga. The traditional club competes in the 4th division of the DACH league “Prime League”. This is one of the 13 European LoL associations below the LEC and comprises a total of eight divisions. The Stuttgart club has great ambitions: “In the long term, we want to aim for the first division in League of Legends,” says VfB CEO Alexander Wehrle.

In terms of personnel, the squad presented seems to be geared towards several promotions: The team is led by support and coach Maximilian Schaller, who can also be seen and heard in the cryptic X teaser. The 30-year-old most recently played for NNO and therefore already has first division experience. The same applies to the star of the first VfB team in LoL eSport: Patrick Engelmann.

“Core business of professional soccer” to be strengthened

The jungler with the gamertag ‘Obsess’ has not only already played in the premier league – he’s even won it. Engelmann won the Prime League title twice with mousesports in 2020. The roster is rounded off by a trio of youngsters: Alexander Mroz, Daniel Baumjohann and Leon Ali. “With our three talents, we are taking the next step to further promote the VfB DNA of the ‘young and wild’ in white-red eSports,” explains Christian Ruf, Director of Digital & Innovation at Stuttgart.

According to him, the goal and also “conviction” is “to be able to significantly strengthen our core business of professional soccer in the medium term with League of Legends, similar to what we have already achieved in eFootball. That is our ambition.” Ruf does not elaborate on the exact significance of this.

eSports to significantly and soon strengthen soccer – this could mean tapping into new target groups who will then come to the stadium. Or advertising revenue that benefits soccer. However, what can happen if there is a lack of success in the “core business of professional soccer” was recently seen at FC Schalke 04 – the miners withdrew from LoL.

In the aforementioned eFootball, VfB finished seventh in the South-East Division of the VBL Club Championship this season. They missed out on the club final in the play-offs. The FC-24 division of the Swabians had also strengthened itself with a former champion before the season

But why is Stuttgart getting involved in an eSport that seems so far removed from its “core business”? Wehrle explains: “The topic of eSports and gaming has become a central part of youth culture. Accordingly, we aim to play an active role in the German eSports segment and help shape it. Gaming is our access to a young and tech-savvy generation.” The association wants to “discover new ways in which (physical) sport and gaming can be combined even more closely”.

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