Co-operation with SK Gaming


In 2018, 1. FC Köln ventured into eSports and formed a co-operation with SK Gaming, one of the most successful gaming companies in the world. In the middle of the strategic partnership between the two Köln sporting institutions lies a Know-How-Transfer.

1. FC Köln, since 2019, were the first German football club to invest in an eSports company and have shares in SK Gaming along with Daimler AG. The engaement in eSports is a part of the digitalisation strategy from 1. FC Köln, with which FC wants to come up with new offerings for the younger age groups - with the goal to strengthen the base in FC.

FC managing director, Alexander Wehrle said: "What happens on the pitch is decisive. This sentence does not contradict our aim to continue to develop on all possible pitches whatsoever. Always provided that this development does not paralyze but instead strengthen FC as a professional football club. And this is exactly our aim with eSports. We don't want to replace the ball with a controller, but instead be there as ideas, trends and business models develop, which can help strengthen the position of professional football."

As part of the investment, SK Gaming advises 1. FC Köln on developments and opportunities in the growing eSports market, which promises new openings for internationalisation. FC will support the players from SK Gaming in their preparation for tournaments, be it in training, fitness or nutrition.

  • Virtual Bundesliga (VBL)

    The Virtual Bundesliga Club Championship is the first competition where the E-Sport teams of the German clubs can go head-to-head against one another. In total, 22 teams from the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga take part on FIFA 20 in order to crown the German Champion.

    Every club faces one another once. A match between two clubs features three individual games: a one-on-one across Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as a two-on-two on the home club's preferred console.

    SK Gaming represent FC, and have sent a new-look team into the competition this year. Mirza Jahic and Timo "Prai" Gruneisen were both part of the squad last season. However, that has been strengthened with the additions of Tim "TheStrxngeR" Katnawatos and Michael "Phenomeno" Gherman, who have been strong performers both nationally and internationally. Katnawatos will play together with Jahic on the PS4, with Gherman and Gruneisen making up the Xbox team.

  • SK Gaming

    SK is a professional gaming team with over 20 years of experience and more than 60 international titles to their name. Founded in Oberhausen in 1997, SK have been in Köln since 2001. Managing Director Alexander Müller is one of the founders of Turtle Entertainment (ESL), one of the biggest tournament operators in E-Sport. SK Gaming have 15 employees, ranging from editors, graphics, marketing and sales to analysts and mental coaches.

    Similar to traditional sports, the teams have different disciplines with varying popularity. The most popular and successful of which was that of Counter-Strike. In 2016 and 2017, SK's five-man team in Köln won the World Championship. Today, SK are involved in League of Legends, FIFA, Hearthstone and Vainglory.

  • Köln: The E-Sport Capital

    Thanks to Gamescom, as well as being home to Turtle Entertainment and EA, a large gaming community like ESL One Cologne or the World Championship Final for Counter-Strike. Köln has become the E-Sport capital of Germany. With 1. FC Köln and the world-renowned SK Gaming, two of the cities most well-known teams are working together.

eSports seit 2018 Teil der Digitalisierungsstrategie

Das Engagement im eSports ist seit 2018 Teil der Digitalisierungsstrategie des Vereins, mit der sich der FC veränderten Ansprüchen seiner Fans sowie neuen, jungen Zielgruppen öffnen will – mit dem Ziel, die Basis des FC nachhaltig zu stärken. Dank der Kooperation mit der SK Gaming, einem der erfolgreichsten Gaming-Unternehmen weltweit, hat sich eSports beim FC so gut entwickelt, dass mit dem Launch eines eigenen Teams mit festangestellten Profis nun der nächste Entwicklungsschritt vollzogen werden kann. Die Social Media-Präsenz auf Twitch und Instagram trug bereits zum Aufbau einer treuen Community und der Gründung des ersten eigenen eSports-Fanclubs bei.

Immer top informiert bleiben mit den eSports-Kanälen

Wenn du über alle Gewinnspiele, FIFA Fan Turniere und Spieltage der Virtual Bundesliga auf dem Laufenden gehalten werden möchtest, schaut bei den eSports-Kanäle vorbei.

FC-Partner präsentieren sich in FIFA 23

Einige Partner des FC engagieren sich bereits im Bereich eSports des Vereins – unter anderem die REWE Group als Hauptsponsor des eSports-Trikots sowie die RheinEnergie AG, Deutsche Telekom und ROG als weitere Trikotsponsoren. Für FIFA 23 haben sich neben REWE, RheinEnergie, Telekom und ROG auch die Partner Ford, Stahlwerk, DEVK und die Sparkasse KölnBonn eine Bandenfrequenz gesichert.

Das eSports-Team des 1. FC Köln

Tim „TheStrxngeR“ Katnawatos
Im Team seit: Oktober 2019
Alter: 24
Vorherige Vereine: FC Basel
Größte Erfolge: 
•    Virtuelle Bundesliga Meister 2018 
•    Schweizer Meister 2019
•    ESL Meister 2018
•    Teilnahme an FIFA eWorld Cup 2017/2018/2019
•    Qualifikation FIFA eWorld Cup 2021 Playoffs
•    Vizepokalsieger DFB-ePokal 2021
•    Top 4 Virtual Bundesliga Club Championship 2021
•    Teilnahme an FIFAe Club World-Cup 2021/22

Felix „Flexxooo“ Günther
Im Team seit: April 2021
Alter: 25
Vorherige Vereine: Keine
Bisherige Erfolge: 
•    Vizepokalsieger DFB-ePokal 2021
•    Top 24 eChampions League 2021

Denis „Denis” Müller
Im Team ab: September 2021
Alter: 20
Bisheriger Verein: 1. FC Heidenheim
Bisherige Erfolge: 
•    Deutscher Meister 2021 Virtual Bundesliga Club Championship
•    Top 4 FUT Champions Cup 2 2021
•    WM Playoffs Top 6
•    Qualifikation FIFA eWorld Cup 2021
•    Top 4 DFB-ePokal 2021
•    Teilnahme an FIFAe Club World-Cup 2021/22

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