It’s the real deal, millennial driven eSports is the next big thing.
Think of eSports organizations the same way you would see any other mainstream sporting organization, for example, the New York Yankees or Manchester United. eSports organizations operate similarly by building their brands in the e-gaming ecosystem versus the traditional sports ecosystem.
A brief history of eSports and how the revenue is distributed across the industry
The first eSports event happened all the way back in October 1972 at Stamford University where students competed on the video game Spacewar. In more recent years the industry has become professional and involves large eSports tournaments, prize money, and media deals.
The eSports opportunity
In 2018, the global eSports market revenue reached US$865 million. According to Statista, global eSports market revenue is forecast to reach US$1.79 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 22.3%. The number of eSports enthusiasts worldwide was estimated at ~168 million in 2018, and for total global viewers, the forecast for 2019 is ~453 million.
The major players in the eSports space
- Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) owns the popular Overwatch League as well as World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Hearthstone.
- Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) is headquartered in California. It is the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization
- Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) is based in New York City. The Company owns two major publishing labels, Rockstar Games, and 2K.
- Tencent Holdings Ltd. (OTCPK: TCEHY) acquired Riot Games and now owns the very popular League of Legends game and also own King of Glory. Tencent is the Chinese leader in eSports game streaming.
- Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is a dominant player in the eSports streaming market. The online streaming market in the USA is led by Amazon’s Twitch.
- Huya Inc. (NYSE: HUYA) is a spin off from YY Inc. Huya is known as the “Twitch of China”. Huya mostly works off a gift model.
- Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) own YouTube Gaming which makes money via subscriptions and advertising.
- Enthusiast Gaming (TSXV: EGLX)/Aquilini GameCo Inc./Luminosity – The merged group will now include seven eSports teams (including management of the Vancouver Titans Overwatch League franchise), 40 eSports influencers, 80+ gaming media websites, 900+ YouTube and Twitch channels
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Enthusiast Gaming merges with Aquilini GameCo and Luminosity to create a market leader in gaming and eSports
In just four years Enthusiast Gaming has gone from a basement-based business to form the leading publicly traded eSports and gaming media organization in North America. Enthusiast Gaming recently announced a merger agreement with Aquilini GameCo Inc. and Luminosity that will create a publicly traded eSports and gaming organization with $22 million in pro forma revenue and $36 million in cash on closing of the merger, with a combined global audience reach of approximately 200 million.
CEO of Enthusiast Gaming, Menashe Kestenbaum, stated: “Our vision has always been to build the largest, vertically integrated eSports and gaming company in the world. The merger with Aquilini GameCo and Luminosity was a strategic decision that positions us as a dominant player in the gaming industry and unlocks access to Luminosity’s 50 million dedicated eSports fans and one of the largest eSports franchises.”
eSports companies are doing well and eSports is gaining acceptance
So far 2019 has been a strong period for eSports with some great returns in H1 2019 for investors including: Huya Inc. (NYSE: HUYA) up 71%, Kuuhubb Inc. (TSXV: KUU) up 81%, Enthusiast Gaming Inc. (TSXV: EGLX) up 39%, Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) up 61%, and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) up 33%.
eSport was featured at the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport, and eSports will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games.
The eSports phenomenon is growing at a rapid pace and offers many opportunities globally for up to date investors, just ask a millennial.
Matthew Bohlsen is a Senior Editor for InvestorIntel.com. With a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment (similar to CFA), and a Graduate Diploma in ... <Read more about Matthew Bohlsen>