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Football Manager has secured the Bundesliga license

The Bundesliga's coming home

Gary Lineker once summed football up as neatly as anyone ever has: "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." Lineker was wrong, of course. The goalkeepers rarely chase the ball.

The quote is even more inaccurate when applied to Football Manager [official site]. There, football is a simple game where twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, an alternate universe, corrupted copy of the Germans always wins. Football Manager, you see, has not had access to the Bundesliga license for many years, which means if you want official team and player names, you need a mod. Starting in 2018/19 and for the four seasons (presumably with possibility of an extension) following, Sega will have an official German license as well.

Licensing in football is complex and I imagine it's very expensive. I have to imagine because licensing fees have not been released, but judging by the price of my Sky Sports package, the price of a beer at Old Trafford and the cash being flung around in the current transfer window, I suspect there might be quite a bit of money involved in all things football. This new deal allows Sega to use the Bundesliga license for one management game (that'd be Football Manager) and Konami have secured a similar deal. The terms of the agreement state "management simulation" on Konami's part as well, so maybe this'll be for a mobile PES game rather than the proper release.

If that's the case, it's probably related to EA's overall control of the license when it comes to all things console and PC. They've been Bundesliga's gaming partner since 1998 and "match simulation will remain exclusively in its hands" until the 2021/22 season at the earliest. Obviously, a management game does some "match simulation" as well, but I'm taking that to mean the kind of fully-controlled FIFA- and PES-like match engines.

Although it won't be present in this year's Football Manager release, the Bundesliga coming back to management is a good thing, particularly for German players. The game isn't even officially available to buy in Germany at the moment. I haven't been able to verify yet, but I reckon this means Football Manager 2019/2020 will be available through Steam (or whatever Steam has become by then) in Germany.

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