Esports venture company ReKTGlobal locked in a $10.8 million Series A funding round that will bolster its pro team, Rogue, which is competing in the League of Legends Europe Championship. The funding round is anchored by Nick Gross, founder of media company Gross Labs, who will also join ReKTGLobal’s board. Other investors include named such as Steve Aoki, Imagine Dragons manager Mac Reynolds, Live Nation, talent manager Larry Rudolph, Ozone Entertainment founder Bret Disend, and 1916 Management founder Jonny Gordon. “We’ve believed in the vision of ReKTGlobal’s co-founders Amish Shah and Dave Bialek from the beginning,” Gross said. “By partnering with ReKTGlobal, Find Your Grind was able to bring esports curriculum to high schools across the Unites States and award $450,000 in annual scholarships to students interested in exploring esports as a possible lifepath. I’m passionate about this space, and it’s exciting to take my involvement with ReKTGlobal to the next level by joining the board, bringing our Find Your Grind and Junior Rogue programs to Europe, and expanding Rogue esports around the world.”
SK Gaming announced new ownership following the acquisition of ESForce’s shares by Mercedes-Benz and 1. FC Köln. “We also want to use this opportunity to thank ESForce Holding for their trust and guidance over the past two years and especially all those who have supported us along the way – players, employees as well as our fans,” the team said in a statement. “It’s been an incredible ride and we wouldn’t be here without any of you. Please expect more news from us in the coming weeks and months, we are excited for what is to come in 2019 and beyond!”
OverActive Media locked in more than $22 million in its latest funding round. The capital will be used to fund its Overwatch League team, Toronto Defiant, and its League of Legends European Championship team, Splyce in addition to using funds to complete its acquisition of Splyce. The funding came from both new and existing shareholders, with a mix of corporate, private, and institutional investors.
Apparel is one of the fastest growing categories in esports sponsorship, with many top tier brands recently committing to team level sponsorship deals. This week, the trend continued with Cloud9 announcing a new deal with PUMA. To dig deeper into this, FanAI took a closer look at a few major athletic apparel brands and investigated the brand awareness gained with the esports audience. While all of the brands have a lot of room to grow into the space, Champion has captured the greatest proportion of esports followers amongst their own handle. 36% of Champion’s Twitter followers also follow at least one esports handle, which could be the result of their multiple partnerships with organizations like FaZe Clan, Dignitas, and most recently FNATIC. This data demonstrates the potential results non-endemic brands can see by becoming first movers in esports within their respective sponsorship category.
Wrapping up its numbers from 2018, Superdata released its annual report on the gaming marketplace, noting that the games and interactive media industry grew 13% in 2018, driven by the success of Fortnite. Overall, free-to-play titles drew 80% of digital games revenue in 2018. Fortnite earned $2.4 billion on its way to becoming a global phenomenon.
The NBA, National Basketball Players Association and 2K, a wholly-owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software and publisher of the basketball video game NBA 2K, announced a multiyear global partnership extension. “The NBA has been an outstanding partner throughout the history of the NBA 2K franchise, contributing significantly to its unparalleled success and the ability to grow its audience around the world across a myriad of platforms and offerings,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “We’re thrilled to be in business with Adam and the entire team at the NBA, and enter into the longest-ever partnership extension between our organizations. Together, we’re confident that we will continue to find new and innovative ways to captivate and engage basketball fans, and expand further the success of the NBA 2K brand.”
GameWorks entered into a partnership agreement with SCCG Management, a full-service management consultancy focused on the casino industry, to bring “venue-based, peer-to-peer wagering esports Lounges to casinos nationwide.” The new venue-based concept, Play by GameWorks, allows players to add skill-based, peer-to-peer wagering and custom betting capabilities to a variety of popular PC and console games. Each 10-12,000 square-foot Play by GameWorks esports Lounge will boast 20-40 PCs and consoles and an extensive library of approximately 100 of the most popular video games, and the ability to run significantly larger tournament events. Every Play by GameWorks will also host a 100-seat restaurant, The Works Kitchen at GameWorks,
Amazon is reportedly developing its own game streaming service, according to The Information, with a potential launch date set for 2020. The article claims that the company is already in talks with publishers,
Global esports organization Gen.G appointed Chris Park as Chief Executive Officer. Gen.G has also announced that co-founder Kevin Chou will assume the role of Executive Chairman. Park most recently served at Major League Baseball as Executive Vice President, Product & Marketing. He will be setting and guiding the day-to-day execution of Gen.G’s strategy in a close partnership with Chou, and will relocate from New York City to Gen.G’s new headquarters in Los Angeles.
Beasley Media Group, LLC, a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. named Jennifer Sulik to the newly created position of Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Beasley XP, the company’s recently announced esports division. Sulik most recently served as the founder and chief executive officer of Go Media Detroit.