Esports Poised to Be the Next Breakthrough Industry

Matthew Carr By Matthew Carr
Emerging Trends Strategist

Market Trends

In 1994, Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots for $172 million.

Ten Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl rings later, that sum seems laughable. The Patriots franchise has become one of the most storied in NFL history, worth upward of $4 billion.

That’s a 2,225% gain!

But Kraft is making waves – and money – in another sport. Some are calling it the sport of the future: esports.

I’m talking competitive video game playing.

Sure, you may chuckle or derisively snort at the idea. But the reality is it’s big money. And this is just the beginning.

In summer 2017, Riot Games began selling franchises for its League of Legends for $10 million. At the same time, Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) started selling its extremely popular Overwatch League franchises for $20 million.

Kraft bought one of these – the Boston Uprising – to add to his list of Boston franchises. (They made the playoffs their inaugural year.)

A little more than a year later, the League of Legends franchises were worth $50 million. The Overwatch League franchises were valued at between $60 million and $80 million.

On top of that, global revenue for esports surged in 2018 to $865.1 million. Revenue is expected to top $1.65 billion by 2021.

In North America, esports is still in its infancy, but I expect that to be short-lived…

Activision has signed a deal with Disney (NYSE: DIS) to broadcast Overwatch League on cable TV (including ESPN, Disney XD and ABC).

Already, tournaments are being streamed on Amazon’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Twitch and Alphabet’s (Nasdaq: GOOGL) YouTube.

At the moment, there are more than 165 million esports fans worldwide. And the prize money pools for the marquee tournaments top those of the Daytona 500, U.S. Open, Tour de France and Kentucky Derby.

Pretty soon, your kids or grandkids are going to be rooting for their favorite esports teams… if they aren’t already.

And you’ll be scoring gains from the companies at the heart of this burgeoning global phenomenon.

Good investing,

Matthew