During the early days of eSports, games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike dominated the industry due to their massive global player bases. The two are similarly structured in terms of competitiveness, which leads to their widespread popularity. Specifically, both games revolve around the idea of an Elo system, which rewards players based on their in-game performance. It is also important to note that League of Legends and Counter-Strike are both heavily team-based games, which require a tremendous amount of teamwork and coordination. Consequently, players began to band together and create teams to face off against one another. At first, the competitive scene may have been underwhelming for most players, but nowadays, eSports have created viable careers for many gamers around the world. For instance, the first League of Legends World Champion in 2011 offered a prize pool of USD 99,500, which was split among 8 different teams. In 2018, the League of Legends World Champion boasted a prize pool of USD 6.45 Million. Professional eSports organization, Invictus Gaming took home the grand prize of USD 2.41 Million in 2018. In comparison, during the first World Championship, Fnatic took home USD 50,000. Generally, over the past several years, the eSports industry has rapidly evolved and has even pushed itself into mainstream media. And as the industry continues to gain popularity, prize pools can be expected to grow even larger. According to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets, the global eSports market was valued at USD 926.3 Million in 2018. By 2023, the market is projected to reach USD 2.17 Billion while registering a CAGR of 18.61% from 2018 to 2023. UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO)
The massive growth of the eSports industry has even created multi-million dollar organizations. Notably, teams such as Team Solomid (TSM), Team Liquid, and Cloud9 are among the most valuable franchises. And these teams remain at the top of the leaderboards in large part because of the funds they possess. Predominantly, most of the funds are accumulated through sponsorships, advertising, ticket sales, merchandising, media rights fees, and tournament winnings, according to TrueBridge Capital. For instance, Cloud9 is one of the most valuable teams in the eSports marketplace because of its success across a diverse list of games. As a result, Cloud9 was able to secure a USD 50 Million Series B funding round last year, pushing its valuation to USD 310 Million, according to Forbes. Cloud9 attributes its success to the prevalence of social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. By engaging on the platforms, Cloud9 was able to grow a loyal fanbase. In return, the large fanbase drives its merchandising revenue as well as viewership, which then attracts sponsors. Cloud9 has received sponsorships from various companies such as Red Bull, AT&T, BMW, HP, and even the U.S. Airforce. In 2017, there was an estimated total of 335 million viewers, who either watched frequently or occasionally. By 2021, market research firm Newzoo expects viewership to increase by 14%, reaching 557 million total viewers worldwide. Overall, the rapid rise in audience numbers is expected to heavily impact the eSports industry, leading to more player signings and sponsorship deals.
UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT) in partnership with GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, announced yesterday the, “Gears of War 5 launch event. This event is a one of a kind event being broadcast live from UMG’s studio. For 48 hours, starting at 9PM on September 5, UMG will transform it’s streaming studio into a live events destination. This event will feature pro players and personalities from Gears of War esports in a format that hasn’t yet been done in the Gears of War community.
Gears of War 5 releases on Friday and UMG plans to be at the forefront of the launch with their broadcast and online platform competition offerings. UMG is operating a 48-hour live broadcast with a mix of professional players and influencers playing the game and working to climb the leaderboards as they rush to hit the highest level possible in the 48-hour timeframe. Along with this main broadcast, UMG will be running a secondary stream with those players practicing and having a more direct line to communicate with fans and competitors new to the Gears of War community.
The partners, influencers and professionals attending include FraNChiS, Soto, Ribs and have a total social following of over 6,000,000. To coincide with the broadcasts, UMG is running dozens of tournament offerings with multiple game-type options to give all levels of players a fantastic opportunity to compete.
UMG continues to add original broadcast content to it existing schedule of events. GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, see the tremendous value in the UMG broadcast viewer demographic, the much sought after millennials. ,”Our team is excited to be part of the launch of Gears of War 5 and bring a new activation to the GoW world that hasn’t yet been done for their community. This is just another example of our commitment to growing the UMG player base and expanding the Gears of War competitive scene.” said UMG CEO, Dave Antony. “The Gears of War 5 Launch event will provide yet another opportunity for UMG to capitalize on its ability to broadcast and distribute unique content to its engaged users.”