FC Bayern Munich reportedly has nixed its plans to enter esports. Club president Uli Hoeness is said to have decided gaming was not a good match for the image of the Bundesliga soccer heavyweight.
This surprise turnabout follows an April announcement of the parent club’s formation of Bavaria Ballers Gaming that would field an NBA 2K franchise within the German club’s basketball division. Bild reported Hoeness’ veto of the initiative despite a €5 million ($5.85 million) proposed investment in non-sports titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Fortnite.
Bayern Munich had tabbed Electronic Arts as its official video game partner and has held other tech-friendly initiatives such as a recent HackDays event.
This is certainly an unexpected development, given both the macro trend of pro sports franchises investing in esports and the micro-level plans at Bayern Munich. Among the soccer clubs that are investing in esports are major European teams like Paris Saint-Germain, Dynamo Kyiv, Roma, and Barcelona. While fielding an esports team just for the sake of doing so—with little organizational support—would probably be worse than not having one at all, this could be a missed opportunity for the German club.