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Business of Esports Minute 007 – Sony & Epic, VaynerGaming, OverActive Esports Arena

A week of news covering the intersection of business and gaming / esports, all in about one minute – everything you need to know from the “profit of esports” himself.

007 – July 19, 2020

From the keyboard to the boardroom, this is the Business of Esports Minute! Every single week, I, Paul Dawalibi, the prophet of esports, will be bringing you my hottest takes from the week, basically everything you need to know about the business of esports all in about one minute. Let’s go.

This week, the biggest news once again revolved around Epic Games. Sony bought a 1.4 percent stake in the company for $250M. This pushes Epic’s valuation to almost $18 billion, and makes for an interesting partnership. Sony has a strong portfolio of entertainment assets. When you combine that with Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem, aka Fortnite, you get the potential for very unique user experiences. I like this deal for no other reason than some of the Epic culture might rub off on the very traditional Japanese Sony. It also confirms the eventual confluence of gaming and entertainment. 

That intersection also applies to traditional sports and gaming. We saw that this week with VaynerSports announcing the launch of VaynerGaming, a new division focused on esports athletes and gaming personalities. VaynerSports was founded by Gary Vaynerchuk, and his celebrity and influence will be a huge asset to VaynerGaming. However, Gary lacks the depth of gaming knowledge and this is somewhat evident in their first signing – Fortnite World Cup winner Bugha. Bugha doesn’t seem like the most marketable client and Fortnite hasn’t done much on the esports front since the World Cup. Gary’s celebrity will no doubt carry VaynerGaming to some level of success, but the long term prospects remain uncertain.

Finally, OverActive Media, owners of both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League teams, announced that they would be building a 7 to 10 thousand seat esports arena in Toronto. With both Activision Blizzard leagues struggling, and the current pandemic severely crippling the viability of in-person events, a dedicated esports venue seems like a very unwise business decision. Organizations like OverActive are sitting on millions of investor cash, saddled with franchises that aren’t performing, and struggling to achieve any kind of profitability. That creates urgency to do something, anything, and bad management decisions like this typically follow.

For far more detailed insight and discussion into the business of esports, as well as the most exceptional line-up of guests, please tune in every week to the Business of Esports podcast and every Wednesday evening into the Business of Esports after-show livestream. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter @bizesports and on YouTube at The Business of Esports. 

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