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Business of Esports Minute 020: Guild Esports Spending, VENN Struggles, CAA Signs 100 Thieves

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. 

020 – October 25, 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 saw more news out of the Guild Esports camp. It was reported that David Beckham was actually paid $20M to be the face of the team. We all know that the esports team business is fraught with risk. Guild takes this to the next level. Their spending on Bekham seems only to serve their fundraising activities and adds little value to the business overall. They also announced a new sponsorship deal but would not name the sponsor, which fits their “all sizzle and no steak” business model. David Beckham will be the only big winner in the Guild Esports story. 

Venn was also in the news this week. To no one’s surprise, the news was yet another large financing – this time a $26M series A round. The current financing follows their $19M seed round which was used to build very expensive sets in NY and LA, and achieved an average viewership of 216 viewers. In their desire to be so much like MTV, any semblance of gamer content has been lost in lifestyle fluff. The lack of quality content and an unclear strategy are the obvious causes of Venn’s current struggles. To Venn’s credit, this new round brings with it a new strategy – they are pivoting towards linear TV. This makes some sense as they’ve mostly alienated their original gamer target audience. 

Finally, talent agency CAA scored a major coup this week when it signed up 100 Thieves. CAA says it plans to “help 100 Thieves expand its content and media interests into new areas and revenue streams through opportunities in digital content, talent, film, TV, podcasts, and more”. With 100 Thieves shedding many of their teams and showing more interest in building a lifestyle brand, it’s unclear why they would be outsourcing talent management functions to CAA. It’s a definite win for CAA, but not clear if 100 Thieves is shooting for both an asset light and people light model. 

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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