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The Weeknd Levels Up Into The Billion Dollar Esports Industry

The Weeknd Levels Up Into The Billion Dollar Esports Industry

By Taylor Durham

  • The Weeknd invests in esports organization OverActive Media

  • In 2019, eSports will surpass $1B in revenue

Esports is believed to be the next wave of competitive entertainment and everyone is taking notice, since its expected to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2019. This cash flow has attracted some big names, such as Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. The Grammy-winning artist recently announced his investment in OverActive Media, the parent company of the Overwatch League franchise Toronto Defiant. Just how ripe is this industry for more investment?

Photo: Byron Tiller & The Weeknd

Photo: Byron Tiller & The Weeknd

Why This Matters: It’s estimated that 380 to 400 million people worldwide will watch esports this year, including 165 million regular esports viewers. In order to fully capitalize on this audience, The Weeknd will work closely with OverActive Media during the 2019 season. His involvement and influence is expected to bring more attention to the industry. Also, he’s not the only entertainer dropping coins in this space, Drake invested in esports company 100 Thieves in October of 2018.

Between the high viewership numbers and the billions of dollars at stake, these numbers have even captured the attention of the NBA. Last year, they held a draft for the launch of their new esports league, selecting 102 professional players in a ceremony that matched its traditional basketball draft.

An average tournament can bring millions of dollars in prize money, meaning the world’s best esports players can expect to earn seven figures annually

Esports players can also expect to rake in big money, even more than traditional athletes. An average tournament can bring millions of dollars in prize money, meaning the world’s best esports players can expect to earn seven figures annually. This doesn’t include sponsorships, endorsements and league salaries of which Newzoo estimated $700 million was spent on esports ventures.

If you’re still trying to figure out what exactly esports is? In short, it’s competitive, organized video gaming. What was once confined to millions of living rooms across the country has exploded into large-scale global events, filling famed venues from Wembley Arena to Madison Square Garden. If you’re finding it hard to believe that people pay NFL-level prices to watch people play video games, you’re not alone; however, the esports industry has been steadily growing and garnered attention from athletes, celebrities, and even venture capitalists.

Situational Awareness: Esports isn’t slowing down any time soon and the industry is ripe for cultivating and investing in up-and-coming talent. Further validation from the NBA and colleges have brought esports to the forefront of business conversation and begun to shape the future of athletic entertainment. Over 50 colleges have esports programs and offer scholarships for players.  

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