NEW YORK, March 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In recent years, major developments in how video game and eSports competitions are being organized have taken place, creating a new and fast-growing market. In previous years, limited tournament infrastructure and a lower number of organizations had restricted the market growth. Such limitations resulted in fewer revenue streams for players and team owners. However, in 2017, Riot Games' League of Legends for the North America and Europe region changed the landscape, giving a structured format to the tournament incepted in 2011. Later, in 2018, Activision Blizzard, Inc. launched its Overwatch league, while also creating the requisite infrastructure and monetization for the eSports tournaments. Now, according to a report by Business Insider, eSports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million viewers in 2019 to 646 million viewers in 2023, per Insider Intelligence estimates. FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS), Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: AESE), Super League Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLGG), Skillz Inc. (NYSE: SKLZ), Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR)
Additionally, the online betting segment is diverse and includes online sports betting. Recently, major developments in sports betting have propelled the segment to new highs. For example, the first college sports deal with a gambling company outside of Nevada was implemented. According to a report by Bloomberg Tax, the deal between the University of Colorado and PointsBet, an Australian based bookmaker launching its U.S. headquarters in Denver, is worth USD 1.625 Million, and includes tax-write offs. It is "the latest in an explosion of ad-deals between sportsbooks and teams or leagues, although it's the first collegiate pact of its kind," the report explains.
FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTCQB: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS) announced last week that, "it has entered into a strategic partnership with TGS Esports Inc. (TSXV: TGS) ("TGS"), a leading esports solutions provider, to launch live esports tournament prediction games.
TGS partners with organizations and brands to build and grow their esports communities via tournaments, broadcast production and events. Through the partnership, FansUnite will incorporate its wagering solutions into TGS events to establish a new platform where live audience predictions can be placed on multiple match outcomes within every white-label esports event run by TGS. Viewers can make live predictions during TGS events for which they can win prizes if their selections are correct. This will enable FansUnite to showcase the prediction platform to a large audience of gaming spectators who participate regularly in TGS tournaments and other related esports events.
Additionally, the prediction games from the platform will be featured on TGS' Pepper esports platform which will enable all tournament organizers to offer predictions and rivalry challenges in their tournaments to their viewers.
The partnership will showcase FansUnite's ability to incorporate their proprietary stream prediction platform into any esports event or tournament, whether online or live in-stadium.
Esports revenue in 2020 was over $1 billion1, excluding revenues from betting. TGS has built white-label esports experiences for over 15 brands, interacting with over 200,000 gamers and by offering prediction games, TGS is able to increase the level of engagement between fans and brands.
'The partnership with TGS Esports brings forth a new platform that will enable us to capture new opportunities within the fast-growing esports market,' said Scott Burton, CEO of FansUnite. 'TGS collaborates with numerous esports event organizers who have a large following of enthusiastic esports gamers that participate in their events. Our online betting solutions coupled with TGS esports platform will enable us to attract a new and widening audience from these events.'
'Live predictions is a feature our brand partners have been asking us to implement for a long time,' said Spiro Khouri, CEO of TGS Esports Inc. 'By implementing FansUnite's technology into our esports events, TGS is able to increase the level of engagement between its fans and brands.'"
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Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: AESE) and Element Partners, LLC ("Element"), a privately-held investment vehicle, announced earlier this year a definitive agreement under which Element will acquire the Company's poker-related business and assets, including the entities comprising the World Poker Tour® ("World Poker Tour," or "WPT®"). Under the terms of the agreement, Element will acquire World Poker Tour for a total of USD 78,250,000, consisting of a USD 68,250,000 upfront payment and a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms, up to a maximum of USD 10 Million, payable over three years after closing. The Company's Board of Directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close in late January or early February 2021, assuming the Company's shareholders approve the transaction and following required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Super League Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLGG) a video gaming and esports entertainment company, reported earlier this month the acquisition of Mobcrush, a live streaming technology platform used by hundreds of thousands of gaming influencers who generate and distribute almost two million hours of original content annually and have accumulated more than 4.5 billion fans and subscribers across the most popular live streaming and social media platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Mobcrush also owns Mineville, one of six exclusive, official Minecraft server partners that is enjoyed by more than 22 million unique players annually. Mineville is highly complementary to Minehut, Super League's owned and operated Minecraft community, strengthening the combined company's leading position with young gamers. This strategic, all-stock transaction, is anticipated to be accretive and enable Super League to take a significant leap forward in providing brands, advertisers, and other consumer facing businesses with massive audience reach across the most important engagement channels in video gaming – competitive events, social media and live streaming content, and in-game experiences.
Skillz Inc. (NYSE: SKLZ) reported earlier this year that it is teaming up with the National Football League (NFL). As part of the agreement, the two sports organizations will host a global game developer challenge. Competing developers will have the opportunity to develop an NFL-themed mobile game. The game will be powered by the Skillz esports platform and will have joint marketing support from both the NFL and Skillz. The combination of the NFL brand and the Skillz platform will set the stage for the future of electronic sports competition. "The NFL is an iconic brand that is synonymous with American sports, and Skillz is thrilled to help power their esports competitions on mobile," said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR) announced earlier in September that it had entered into a multi-year agreement with ESPN. The new deal includes link integrations from ESPN's digital platforms to sportsbooks from Caesars Entertainment's sports betting partner, William Hill. William Hill Sports Book's odds and markets connect directly to their sports betting apps in legalized states. The deal comes shortly after William Hill became the exclusive sports betting operator for Caesars Entertainment, following the merger with Eldorado Resorts. Link integrations to William Hill's sports betting apps, geo-targeted to legalized sports betting states, will appear on ESPN.com web and mobile web and the ESPN Fantasy app. As part of the new agreement, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill will also become a sponsor of ESPN's Fantasy products, deepening an existing relationship as ESPN's exclusive odds provider.
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