Did you know that Esports is one of the fastest growing industries in the world? If you didn’t, you may be surprised to hear that as of 2018, the total Esports audience reached 380 million people.
This huge level of global interest has attracted the attention of large investors willing to support various ventures across Esports. Below, we outline 10 investors that you may be surprised to hear are backing the industry.
Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of energy drink company Red Bull, has never shied away from diversifying his portfolio and investing outside of the F&B industry. The most notable example of this is Red Bull’s extremely successful Formula One marketing venture which led to 4 World Titles. Red Bull currently sponsor Esports teams Cloud9 and OG.
Tech entrepreneur Tej Kohli has invested €20million into leading French Esports Team, ‘Team Vitality’, believing that Esports “
Actor Ashton Kutcher may be best known for playing roles such as Michael Kelso and Walden Schmidt, but he is also a seasoned venture capitalist. Kutcher is an investor in disruptive industries, having bought into firms such as Spotify, Uber and Shazam, so perhaps not such a great surprise that he has seen the Esports opportunity. Kutcher invests in Unikr, an Esports betting platform.
The mainstream appeal of the Esports industry is further evidenced by singer Jennifer Lopez, who became part of a $15million investment for Esports team NGR back in 2017.
Sports stars investing in Esports seems logical, and one current star to have done this is professional basketball player Stephen Curry. He has invested heavily in Team SoloMid with investment group Bessemer Venture Partners, who raised €37million for the team.
Tony Robbins, the American author and philanthropist, has also entered the Esports industry – backing Team Liquid, Robbins is part of the ownership group aXiomatic, which also includes Steve Case and Magic Johnson.
Offset, of hip-hop group Migos, has also ventured into the Esports world, buying a stake in FaZe Clan, believing they are ‘the biggest Esports organisation in the world.’ FaZe Clan were recently in the headlines for negative reasons – a legal dispute with former player Tfue, so this fresh investment and positive PR come as a relief to the company.
In 2017, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, bought a majority stake in compLexity Gaming along with real estate entrepreneur John Goff. The owner of the NFL team has even allowed members of compLexity to train at the Cowboys’ training complex!
Jones is not the only NFL team owner to have invested in Esports, with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft further strengthening the link between sport and Esports with a $20million investment.
With Newzoo’s market report stating that global Esports revenues are predicted to rise to $1.65billion by 2021, it appears these investments have been made wisely.