Esports has been an industry that has been gaining significant traction year on year over the past decade and it is now becoming mainstream. As more celebrities, sports teams and major brands are getting involved in the space in a variety of different capacities, it lends weight to the idea that eSports is here to stay.
Now that it is clear that the industry is growing rapidly, nobody wants to miss out on the opportunity to capitalize. This is why two major figures in the world of traditional sports have decided to put their money down and get a slice of the action.
The owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, and the COO of the New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon, has reportedly entered the world of eSports through investments in Overwatch League franchises. This was announced by Blizzard itself, the gaming developer of Overwatch, as well as being the operators of the league.
The Overwatch League is set to begin this coming December and it is reported to be made up of seven different city-based franchises: Seoul, Shanghai, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Boston.
Robert Kraft spoke about how he had been keeping an eye on the industry for a number of years and had been waiting for the right opportunity to invest and get involved.
The combinations of the great success Overwatch has garnered since it was launched and the commendable focus and structure that has been implemented to take the game to an important position in the world of eSports have been a major factor in the decision making process.
It is believed that the buy-in per team that was sought by Blizzard Entertainment was $20 million and there would be no revenue sharing until the year 2021.
Overwatch has decide to go down the route of the city-based approach, similar to traditional sports, as it is believed that this is an ideal way to garner more loyal fans. It also allows there to be a home venue for matches so the organization can sell tickets, merchandise and so on.
It is believed that there are approximately 148 million fans of eSports in the world today and this is a number that is constantly growing. The 2022 Asian Games that are going to be held in China will have eSports as a medal event, and the NBA is currently building an NBA 2K eLeague.
This is a space that will no doubt continue to attract significant investors and is an exciting industry to keep an eye on.