Esports publishers and esports leagues
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    Esports publishers and esports leagues

    Russel Chesler, Director, Investments & Portfolio Strategy
    07 August 2021

    Esports would not exist without publishers and game developers, the most powerful and most relevant players in the esports ecosystem. They can either advance or cut down the development of an esports title. 

    Publishers that own the intellectual property rights are the most powerful and most relevant players in the esports ecosystem. They can either advance or cut down the development of an esports title. 

    When it comes to competitions or events, publishers license their esports titles to third parties such as:

    • league operators (ESL, Dreamhack, Starladder, etc.);
    • streaming platforms (Twitch, YouTube, Huya, etc.);
    • esports teams (Cloud9, Team SoloMid, G2 Esports, etc.); and
    • brands (Red Bull, MasterCard, Mercedes-Benz, etc.).

    In this way, they share their business risk and generate revenue through license fees while broadening their intellectual property and fostering business relationships.  

    Example: Riot Games
    In 2009, Riot Games, a small studio based out of Los Angeles, released a free-to-play, multiplayer online battle arena called League of Legends. By 2011, it hosted the Season 1 Championship, the first official tournament.

    By 2016 there were more people watching the 2016 League of Legends World Championship than the NBA Finals.

    By 2018, the World League of Legends attracted a record-breaking 99.6 million viewers over the course of the event.

    In 2019, the Worlds semi-final pitting European superstars G2 against the most decorated team in League history, Korean legends SKTT1 garnered four million concurrent viewers becoming the most watched esport match at that time.

    The table below sets out largest esports tournaments and their prize money.

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    READ MORE:
    Part 1: The ecosystem
    Part 3: The teams
    Part 4: The fans

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