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Business of Esports Minute 008 – Caffeine $113M Raise, Logic Twitch Exclusive, Activision Blizzard Lifeline

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. 

008 – July 26, 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, Caffeine reloaded their coffers in a big way with a fresh shot of $113M in funding. This took the form of a series D round and was led by Cox Enterprises, Fox Corporation, and Sanabil Investments. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners also participated in the round. Caffeine had previously raised more than $140 million in funding, including a $100 million investment from 21st Century Fox in 2018. Given the big-name VCs in the deal, it’s clear that Caffeine has ambition to be a major player in the streaming game, and won’t be just looking for an exit to a larger player. 

In a somewhat strange move, Twitch signed recording artist Logic to an exclusive contract this week. The move seems strange given how badly exclusive contracts recently blew up for Mixer, and the jury is still out if a personality can carry their audience with them from platform to platform. However, the intersection of music, gaming and streaming is an obvious one, and Logic is smart to be retiring from the music industry. I’m sure he will continue to leverage his musical talent, but through a medium that is growing vs one that is on the decline. Smart move indeed. 

Finally, there were rumors circulating this week that Activision Blizzard is talking to Overwatch League and Call of Duty League team owners about providing some kind of financial relief. This could include delaying franchise payments. While Activision Blizzard is blaming covid-19 for the team’s hardships, the reality is that both leagues have stagnant viewership and an economic structure that virtually guarantees failure. Unfortunately, if the aforementioned rumors are true, it’s likely too little too late to fix the problems at hand. There is blame on both sides of the table, and as a consequence, the future is looking very bleak for Overwatch League especially. I would be advising brands to stay away from this sinking ship. 

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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