German State Moves to Support Esports With Coalition Agreement

Political parties in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein have signed a coalition agreement that “aims to examine if and how esports events can be supported and established” in the region, according to a report by Dot Esports’ Thiemo Brautigam. The agreement—which has support from the conservative CDU party, the liberal SDP, and the Greens—is a welcoming sign to the growing acceptance of esports, and a not-so-subtle hint that industry players may find a open-door home in the state.

While Germany is lagging behind other countries in the region in both recognition and involvement, the infrastructure and interest definitely exists to thrive.

Many of Europe’s strongest esports organizations are based in Germany, including ESL, SK Gaming, and Riot Games‘ EU LCS operation. The region has also seen some incredible events, including last year’s ESL One Cologne event, which attracted 14,000 live visitors.

This also isn’t the first time German political groups have noticed esports—last month, the SDP released an election manifesto addressing the industry.

“We recognize the growing importance of the esports landscape in Germany,” says the manifesto. “We will examine if and how the conditions for esports can be improved.”

There’s also several larger business interests in the country as well, including the trademarking of several Bundesliga esports brands by the country’s FIFA arm and a German games lobbying group (BIU) demanding that esports be recognized as a sport. While Germany is lagging behind other countries in the region in both recognition and involvement, the infrastructure and interest definitely exists to thrive.

Success in Schleswig-Holstein is far from guaranteed, but if the state government can invite esports business interests and grow the state’s industry, wider acceptance is a likely next step.

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