This post is explicitly a comment on the current news that the previous president of Esportbund Germany, Hans Jagnow, Vice President of the ESL Pro League. I would like to make it clear that I wish everyone, and therefore of course Hans Jagnow, his personal happiness. Purely personally and financially, I can even understand it. I am also a commercially oriented person. However, it is probably bad news for German esports.

The reason is simple. The ESBD has always tried to present itself as a “clean man”, which only and mainly supports the interests of voluntary sports and wants to promote them. Even according to the ESBD statutes and membership structure, the commercialization of Esports was only marginally desired.

The fact that two board members are leaving their posts prematurely and the president is moving to a commercial provider is surprising for a number of reasons:

  • One has at least always indirectly criticized the “machinations” of the DOSB and taken them as arguments for one’s own position.
  • Together with Ralf Reichert of the ESL, they even appeared in the Bundestag, always pretending that they were only concerned with higher goals.
  • Events were organized together with ESL and ESBD was “sponsored” by ESL.
  • Hans Jagnow stated when he announced his resignation that he wanted to focus more on health and private matters.

In my humble opinion, this leads to the fact that the credibility of the ESBD and all statements that Hans Jagnow has made in recent years must be regarded as very questionable. In any case, his statements are very strange in light of the change. Something similar would probably be said if the DFB president accepted a well-paid post at the DFL. In the games sector, it would perhaps be comparable if the games CEO were to resign and then immediately accept a leading position at Electronic Arts Germany.

Even though I wish Hans Jagnow all the best as a person, as outlined above, the manner and timing seem very problematic to me. Why Hans Jagnow chose such an, in my opinion even somewhat undignified, exit will probably remain his secret.

I would therefore even say that with the announcement of this personnel, the ESBD is “dead”. Not only is there a lack of suitable successors for the Board of Management, at least without knowing any internal details. Above all, however, credibility has now been completely destroyed in my eyes. Anyway, that’s how I feel. But of course you can see it differently. However, the events are likely to provide strong arguments for opponents of the recognition debate, so if nothing is changed in the strategies and structures, the job of a successor will prove very difficult.

I think ESBD members are now well advised to rethink the entire ESBD structure. It probably needs new minds, new approaches, new structures. Maybe the game industry association with its fusion history can be a role model and a “new” ESBD can combine non-profit esports and commercial esports. However, this also means that the structures and approaches of the ESBD must be adapted, salaries paid for functionaries and a number of other things must be changed. For esports in Germany, I hope that the leading personalities behind the ESBD, who have personally committed themselves to esports, sometimes with great sacrifice of time, will find a way to “save” the ESBD as an institution and perhaps also advance things like the promotion and legal equality of esports. Now there might even be the chance to put the ESBD and the thoughts behind the promotion of German and European Esports, with new heads and fresh ideas, on new feet! However, it is likely to take a lot of time and involve a lot of work.

Nevertheless, good luck with your new tasks, Hans Jagnow!

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