People are investing millions into League of Legends franchises. Will the bet pay off?

By: Miles Yim 

From the moment he was appointed Dignitas CEO in 2018, Michael Prindiville made rejoining the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) his top priority. Dignitas helped found the game’s North American professional league six years ago, but the team was denied a seat at the table when the LCS turned to a franchise model in 2017. Now, after negotiating a merger with Clutch Gaming that reportedly cost $20 million, Dignitas is back at the forefront of the world’s most popular esport.

“[League] is showing no signs of slowing down,” Prindiville said. “l think it’s by far the most sustainable esport in North America, if not the globe. We really wanted to be a part of that, secure that franchise going forward. It’s a game we believe in.”

Dignitas is not alone in its zeal for League of Legends, a game that peaks at roughly 8 million concurrent players every day around the globe, according to publisher Riot Games. In 2020, two other previously scorned esports outfits will re-enter the LCS. Immortals Gaming Club purchased Infinite Esports & Entertainment and gained control of OpTic Gaming’s LCS slot, while Evil Geniuses bought Echo Fox’s recently vacated spot at auction. That spot cost Evil Geniuses $33 million, according to a person familiar with the sale terms.

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Fortnite has pushed esports to the mainstream, says esport brand expert

Fortnite has pushed esports to the mainstream, says esport brand expert from CNBC.

John Yao, CEO of Team Secret, a global esports brand that represented two players in the Fortnite World Cup, and John Costas, former chairman and CEO of UBS Investment Bank and now vice chairman of Team Secret, join “Squawk Box” to discuss the rise of esports.

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Fortnite World Cup: the $30m tournament shows esports’ future is already here

Nearly all established sports are going through some degree of hand-wringing over attracting younger fans as their older core ages out. The death of monoculture and explosion of entertainment options, many accessible without leaving one’s bedroom, have seen attendance drops across the board. MLB and NFL teams have fallen over themselves installing on-site daily fantasy lounges to lure second-screeners. Even the hidebound International Olympic Committee has made transparent plays for youth, most recently with the addition of skateboarding, surfing and three-on-three basketball to next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The demographic they’re so thirsty for could be found in droves over the weekend at New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where three days of sold-out crowds turned out for the biggest video game competition of all time – the Fortnite World Cup – where a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania named Kyle Giersdorf (aka Bugha) brought home the winner’s share of $3m with a dominant performance in Sunday’s solos competition. It was the climax of a three-day marathon that saw a staggering $30m in prize money doled out.

A walk around the sprawling grounds where the US Open will take place next month raised a pressing question: not whether esports is the future of sports entertainment, but whether there’s any possible scenario where it’s not.

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