New Swiss E-Sports Baseball League already a success

New Swiss E-Sports Baseball League already a success
European baseball's first-ever E-sports competition started on 11 January. The final is scheduled for Wednesday, 24 February.

Switzerland is the first country in Europe to launch an E-sports baseball league.

"The restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to shut down practices. We were trying to find ways to still play baseball and be competitive," said Sebastian Zwyer, the media chief with the Swiss Baseball Softball Federation (SBSF).

The project started in the summer of 2020. René Merkli, a former player of the Zurich Barracudas and the founder of Senior e-Sports, a platform for gamers over the age of 35, approached SBSF.

The federation approached all Swiss clubs, and "we received great feedback," commented Zwyer. And one week after the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) approved E-Sports as a new discipline and virtual version of Baseball/Softball last December, the SBSF was off and running with their own E-sports league.

The Swiss Baseball E-Sports League (SBEL) features two leagues: the one for gamers over 35 has eight participating teams. The Junior League, for U-34 gamers, has 12 participating teams. The competition started on 11 January and the final is scheduled for Wednesday, 24 February. It will be shown live on SBSF's Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.

"It is the first time we host baseball on our platform," said Merkli. "We do organize the whole process, starting from the schedule and finishing with the scores and rankings. The game is played on the PlayStation (MLB20 The Show)."

Fischer is in charge of the SBEL games play-by-play commentary. "A nine-inning game takes about one hour," Fischer said. "Everything is faster and there's not much time for colour comments. These virtual players don't jog to their positions, they are already there and ready to start over. A virtual game is totally different. I have a lot to learn."

Member Federation News