The esports ambitions of FC Bayern Munich, one of the world’s most popular football clubs, were stifled after its president, Ulrich Hoeness, vetoed the initiative.
The now-vetoed plans were already in an advanced stage, as €5 million were allocated to buy rosters in popular esports titles such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Fortnite: Battle Royale, according to a report by the German publication BILD.
Aside from its planned investments, the club has also established its own NBA 2K team, the Bayern Ballers back in April. Despite the recent success of the NBA 2K League, and of the esports industry in general, it was not enough to convince the president of Germany’s most successful club to let it branch out to competitive gaming.
Should Hoeness’ veto hold, FC Bayern would be the first major football club to refuse the allure of esports. The club’s peers in the Bundesliga however, such as VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04 among others, have already started their own forays into esports.
While Hoeness and FC Bayern have yet to release their statements, the defending Bundesliga champions would be missing out on some prime opportunities as the intersection of both esports and sports entertainment have proven to be very lucrative.
Some of the other biggest names in football have seen successful investments in esports. Manchester City acquired a top Chinese FIFA Online team early this month, while Paris Saint-Germain acquired the Chinese Dota 2 team LGD back in April. PSG’s Dota 2 team has seen significant success in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, earning a direct invite to The International 2018 this coming August.
Then again, FC Bayern is among the world’s highest-earning soccer clubs, and while they can definitely afford to be a late adapter, outright ignoring esports wouldn’t bother it either. The esports folks however would surely mourn the lost opportunity.