The market for eSports has been both fluid and endlessly compelling. For those that are uninitiated into the world, it may seem silly, but for those inside of it, they realize that there is money to be made.
Lionsgate, an entertainment company and the Miami Heat, an NBA team, are the two newest entities to have both made large investments in eSports. Both have invested amounts that will hopefully help with prioritizing good internal structure inside of the organizations. The Heat invested in The Mistfits, while Lionsgate invested in The Immortals, both of which are multigame eSports franchises.
The Heat and Lionsgate each have completely different objectives in their investments, but both approaches could work given how the landscape is evolving.
This is what Heat CEO Nick Arison had to say about the investment into The Misfits in a press release.
“The Miami Heat pride ourselves on being innovative in all aspects of sports and business. For us, it made perfect sense to partner with Misfits, a young and ambitious franchise in a sport that is blazing a trail in terms of 21st century recreational competition amongst Millennials.”
You’ll see that the approach is based mostly around making this like a sport and putting it out there as such. It is a straight-forward approach that is tried and true for the NBA. It doesn’t necessarily lack ambition, but it just doesn’t have the pizzazz and ambition that most eSports franchises promise.
Last year, the Warriors, Wizards, and 76ers were three NBA teams that invested in eSports teams, while Jeremy Lin endorsed a club and Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, and Jimmy Rollins all also invested.
On the other side of the coin, Lionsgate president Peter Levin almost laid out their entire plan in a release.
“We’re delighted to be an early mover in a market that has the potential to transform sports entertainment. Our involvement in eSports creates tremendous opportunities to develop new content and utilize our suite of distribution platforms for a coveted consumer demographic with compelling engagement metrics. Collaborating with an elite group of partners, the combination of the Lionsgate and Immortals brands will be formidable.”
While the end goal may not be all to different, it is fascinating to see who all is willing to take a dive into eSports and see what they can get out of it. Will the reward be worth the risk?