esports player foundation

Esports have long since established themselves in Germany. A field that began with private LAN parties and events back in the 1990s has grown to become a mass movement. The number of people who play esports as a hobby has been rising in Germany for many years now; today there are esports clubs, departments, university groups and organisations throughout Germany where esports enthusiasts can enjoy their pastime. Germany’s cohort of professional esports players is also growing. These are the players for whom esports are a profession and who compete at the highest level.

In order to ensure that these persons and other up-and-coming esports professionals enjoy the best possible support in future, in January 2020 the world’s first initiative devoted to supporting esports players was founded in Cologne: the esports player foundation (epf). The association focuses on providing a comprehensive support programme to current and future top players like those offered in conventional sports – something that has never before existed in the field of esports.

The esports player foundation aims to close this gap, because in order to be successful in the digital arena, competitors need years of balanced professional training. This means not only helping esports players – from young up-and-comers to semi-professional and professional players – to hone their game-playing skills, but also taking responsibility for the time after their careers, or in the event that they are unable to make it as professional players. That is why ensuring a healthy balance between their esports careers and school, training, professional development and work is top priority.

The esports player foundation is already assuming a leading role globally in many areas. Extensive sports psychology support, nutrition consultation and sports medicine check-ups as well as tax and financial coaching, help with contractual matters and targeted support for career issues are all part of the programme. And in each case, the services on offer are tailored to the individual player’s situation and provided by a non-profit organisation – a programme for esports players that has yet to be matched anywhere in the world. In addition, the values of good sportsmanship are taught, and players are empowered to serve as positive role models for millions of other ambitious players.

Support is funded by partners from the business world that include Deutsche Telekom, CosmosDirekt, Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), AnyDesk, Garmin, Techniker Krankenkasse, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Logitech G. Other supporters help the programme by providing their products and services, such as Nvidia and Taylor Wessing. Together, the efforts of these prominent companies do more than simply strengthen Germany’s position as an esports location and supply young talents with partners offering support – they also help to foster the continued growth of the esports ecosystem.

The esports player foundation is currently supporting 90 players of the ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’, ‘League of Legends’, ‘Brawl Stars’ and ‘FIFA’ games. In future, the foundation hopes to be able to deliver comprehensive support to every talented player in Germany for every relevant esports game. The aim: to significantly increase Germany’s share of the world’s elite esports players. In order to get started in achieving this, the epf collaborated with DKB to establish ‘DKB Diamonds’, a ‘League of Legends’ free agent team with which they can offer talented young players the chance to gather game experience and attract attention in the Prime League (similar to the German Bundesliga). It is hoped that the DKB Diamonds can help players make the leap to teams in higher leagues.

In addition to games promotion, the epf is also involved in other esports fields: in 2021, the epf joined with Deutsche Telekom and SK Gaming to launch the ‘Equal Esports’ initiative, which promotes greater diversity and equality of opportunity in esports. The foundation is also working to combat toxicity and hate speech in esports with its ‘SpeakUpEsports’ campaign.

Mehr Informationen auf www.esportsplayerfoundation.org