Lack of money: is Schalke 04 selling its e-sports area?

Tyler Durden

Staff member
Feb 28, 2021
For several years, the "still-Bundesliga club" Schalke 04 has been in financial difficulties. The mountain of debt has now grown to several million euros. In terms of sport, the professionals from Gelsenkirchen have not been going as they should for a long time. In order to reduce the debt at least a little, Schalke 04 has now considered selling its esports department.

Schalke 04 Esports

As the soccer magazine 90MIN reported several days ago, Schalke 04 is considering selling its license to participate in the European League of Legends League (LEC). It was only at the beginning of 2019 that the Gelsenkirchen-based company acquired this license for nine million euros. A sale of the license could, however, flush many times the original purchase price into the club's coffers for the ailing sports club. However, it is still questionable whether a sale is recommendable at this point in time.

Is Schalke 04 selling the license for 30 million euros?​

FC Schalke 04 has acquired the coveted e-sports license for nine million euros. However, the LEC is a closed league system in which only ten teams can play against each other. This fact could result in an enormous increase in value. In any case, the sports magazine SPOX reports that Schalke 04 could demand around 30 million euros for the e-sports license today. A good argument to actually sell the license in a timely manner.

But despite this million dollar deal, only a fraction of the club's debts would have disappeared through the sale of the license. As the sports magazine Heimatsport reported in December last year, the club's debts have recently added up to around 240 million euros. The corona pandemic had increased the mountain of debt to this amount in the past year, since only ghost games have been allowed to take place for months and, for example, entry fees can no longer be collected.

As the first German Bundesliga club, Schalke 04 founded their own esports department in spring 2016. First, the Gelsenkirchen team started with League of Legends. Over the years, the club expanded its competencies to include the games FIFA and Pro Evolution. The notable successes of the S04 include winning the national ESL championship, the German championship in the virtual Bundesliga and the European championship.

Schalke 04's esports department is extremely successful​

Unlike the footballers from Schalke 04, the club's e-athletes have been hugely successful for several years. For example, the e-athletes from Schalke 04 were able to achieve second place in the European League of Legends League (LEC) in 2018. A year later it was still enough for third place. Incidentally, it wasn't until December that we asked ourselves in an article whether the dream job back then was an astronaut and is now an e-athlete.

The Schalke 04 soccer team can only dream of such placements in the Bundesliga. For a long time, the Royal Blues have been in last place in the table. It was only recently announced that the Gelsenkirchen-based company was separating from several heads at the management level.

In view of the great successes in the e-sports sector, however, the Schalke 04 management team should find it all the more difficult to sell this department. After all, the e-athletes are by far the most successful athletes in the club. However, a possible sales proceeds of around 30 million euros could help to repay a considerable part of the debt.

However, under certain circumstances it could be a good alternative to continue to hold onto the license. If the Schalke e-athletes continue to be so successful, significantly more money could be made with the e-sports business than with the immediate sale of licenses.

FC Schalke 04 was founded in 1904 in the Gelsenkirchen district of Schalke. The sports club from the Ruhr area is currently in seventh place in the Bundesliga all-time table. Schalke 04 is currently the fourth largest German sports club with over 160,000 members. The miners' home games have been played in the Veltins Arena (approx. 54,000 seats) since 2001.


It is currently not clear whether Schalke 04 will actually sell its successful esports department. A sale of the license could bring in income of around 30 million euros at the current time. A good deal: just two years ago, the Royal Blues paid just nine million euros for the license. A decision on the possible sale of the e-sports department should have been made by the end of the season. So you shouldn't just be curious whether the Schalke 04 footballers will soon be able to turn the corner again. The e-sports business could also continue to come into the media focus in the coming months.