YouTube, Twitter, Amazon

ESports: An investment game

The burgeoning eSports and online gaming sector has seen investment from internet giants and telecoms operators exceed $2bn in the past six years, according to Ampere research.

BT has become the latest telco to enter the eSports market by scoring a partnership with eSports network Gfinity to broadcast live matches from its upcoming Elite Series tournament. In Spain, multi-play operators Telefonica, Orange and Vodafone already have gone one step further and all feature a dedicated eSports channels on their respective TV services.

Online giants, including Amazon, Google, and Twitter have also advanced their involvement in eSports. Amazon, through Twitch, recently partnered with games developer Blizzard to secure exclusive broadcast rights to 20 of its tournaments. Earlier this year, Twitter pledged to broadcast more than 1,500 hours of live eSports content this year, while YouTube partnered with FACEIT to be the exclusive home of its tournaments.

However, over the past five years, one of the most notable contenders in the online gaming and eSports space is Modern Times Group (MTG), which has been making a selection of investments and acquisitions in the space. Earlier this year it sold off its Baltic channel assets, and dedicated funds raised to ramping up digital presence. Most recently, MTG acquired US-based online gaming platform, Kongregate, at an enterprise value of $55m. Below, Ampere outlines some investments and acquisitions in the eSports space, which include eSports teams and franchises as well as games developers. As eSports grow in popularity, Ampere expects to see more telcos and pay TV operators to enter the eSports market as companies increasingly try to target millennial audiences.