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Fnatic secures $17m led by Marubeni to drive further global growth

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Fnatic's equal opportunity Fnatic Network is fostering new streaming talent, more than doubling their viewership in the past year
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High-performance brand will harness $1bn esports market in 2021

Fnatic, the high-performance esports brand, has announced a $17m funding round led by one of the largest conglomerates in Japan, Marubeni Corporation (“Marubeni”). This investment will incorporate a strategic partnership to support Fnatic’s expansion into the growing Japanese esports sector, and the substantial Asia-Pacific market. 

Marubeni’s investment in Fnatic builds upon twelve months of growth, including an 80% year-on-year increase in revenues year-to-date and expansion as a high-performance esports brand. Fnatic will now strengthen its position in the rapidly growing esports market, which Newzoo anticipates will generate $1.08bn in revenues in 2021. 

The previous twelve months have also accelerated the growth of the global esports industry, particularly in cornerstone markets such as China and East Asia. Newzoo projects that the worldwide esports audience will grow to 474 million people in 2021, with 92.8 million enthusiasts in China alone. This global audience is expected to reach more than 577 million by 2024. 

To tap into this global and growing market, Fnatic has recently strengthened its leadership team with the addition of Georgina Workman (Head of Studios, Previously Appear Here), Julien Dupont (Partnership development, previously Vitality/Havas), Oliver Royce (Head of Apparel, Previously Gymshark) and Patrick Foster (CFO, previously Getaround). It has also continued to develop its high-performance esports brand through expanding its digital and physical performance products – revenues from these ranges have increased by 91 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2021. 

The investment from Marubeni will also accelerate Fnatic’s growth in the substantial Asia-Pacific market with a new strategic partnership that will incorporate the expansion of Fnatic’s base of operations in Japan and support for Fnatic’s Rainbow 6 Siege team who plan to relocate to the country. The Japanese esports industry is a significant and growing market, expected to increase in value by more than 250 per cent between 2019 and 2023. More than 6.9 million people attended esports events in Japan in 2020, a 42 per cent increase on the previous year.

The current round includes a range of international family offices and institutional investors, alongside venture debt from Bootstrap. The round comes after Fnatic’s groundbreaking crowdraise in 2020, which was joined by more than 3,500 investors. 

Fnatic CEO Sam Mathews said: “We’re so excited to have the strategic know-how of Marubeni leading this funding round.  Marubeni’s knowledge of Japan’s business landscape will be a huge asset to Fnatic as we expand our commitment to APAC.”

Founded in 2004, Fnatic is the world’s leading high-performance esports brand, with more tier-1 tournament wins than any other organisation. This focus on performance has enabled the growth of Fnatic’s pioneering esports equipment line, which grew 52 per cent in 2020. Fnatic has also expanded its high-performance teams globally, with a worldwide squad of 40 pro gamers across 8 game titles, and more than 100 staff in 6 offices globally.

 

Bitcoin

Thunderpick is launching the first ever eSports tournament series with a prize pool in Bitcoin

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Thunderpick is launching the first ever eSports tournament series with a prize pool in Bitcoin
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The Thunderpick Bitcoin Series is an online event that officially starts on the 17th of January with a CS:GO tournament that will last until the 7th of March. Other CS:GO and Dota 2 tournaments within the Thunderpick Bitcoin Series are expected later in 2022.

The first tournament of the Series will host top CS:GO squads from all over the world. There will be a total of 23 teams competing for a chance to win a chunk of the 1.2 Bitcoin prize pool with at least $75,000 guaranteed. The minimum amount is a secure prize, but there is no telling how high the Bitcoin price might go up during the playoffs, so the main prize might be even higher!

The format of the CS:GO tournament will be a standard best-of-three, divided further into three stages with the collective 50 Bo3 matches. In the closed qualifier 4 teams will face double elimination, where the winning team will advance to the main stage. Main stage will feature 16 teams where only 8 can get into the final stage and play against 4 additional guest teams. During the Grand Finale the top teams of the tournament will fight over who will take the main prize home.

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eSports

LEC Partners with Red Bull, Warner Music, and Secretlab for 2022

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LEC Partners with Red Bull, Warner Music, and Secretlab for 2022
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We’re thrilled to announce the return of three long-term partners for the LEC 2022 season.

As we prepare for the start of LEC Spring 2022, we’ve been working with our partners to ensure that we offer the best possible viewing experience for our fans around the world. Today, we’re proud to announce that three of our long-term partners will be returning to support the 2022 season.

The first of these partnerships is our Official Energy Drink Supplier, Red Bull. This will be our fourth consecutive year working with Red Bull and we can’t wait to build on our partnership throughout the year.

Red Bull will excite the LEC followership by creating content activations that will appear throughout LEC events and also promoting grassroots LoL esports over the next 12 months. Further, Red Bull Solo Q, the official 1v1 League of Legends tournament, in which fans can compete against each other, is returning for 2022.

Next, we are ecstatic to confirm that Warner Music will once again be joining us as an Official Music Partner for 2022. Over the four years we’ve been working with Warner, they’ve introduced some truly amazing artists to LEC fans and we can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for the year ahead.

Warner Music was instrumental in powering the 2022 LEC promotional video with Chrissy Constanza, and will be bringing a similar calibre of talent to LEC content going forward.

Finally, we’re excited to confirm that Secretlab will be returning for a multi-year partnership as the Official Gaming Chair Partner for the LEC and EU Masters! From chairs inspired by K/DA’s music releases and the Ruination event to the premiere of Arcane on Netflix, Secretlab has been a constant in the League of Legends universe, celebrating major League milestones since 2019. As the Official Gaming Chair at regional leagues and global tournaments including the World Championship, the Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star, esports teams have gotten familiar with Secretlab chairs and we’re delighted to have them return to support the LEC for the third year running with the new Secretlab TITAN Evo 2022.

Additionally, the exclusive Secretlab x League of Legends Tilted emote that was first dropped during Worlds 2021 will be making its return during LEC 2022 – stay tuned to Secretlab’s social media pages to find out how you can get yours.

“LEC has constantly kept us on the edge of our seats with mind blowing plays each year. With the induction of increasingly younger talents across the league, following an action-packed year which made LEC 2021 the most watched season of all time, we’re expecting even more epic faceoffs in the upcoming season and the teams can count on being supported by the world’s best gaming chairs in their battle for a spot at Worlds,” says Beatrice Wee, Senior Manager, Global Partnerships, Secretlab. “There’s no compromise when it comes to equipping Europe’s best.”

With these amazing partners alongside us, we can’t wait for what will no doubt be the most exciting year of LEC action yet. Will MAD Lions continue their reign at the top, or will old favourites G2 Esports or Fnatic rise back to the top spot with their refreshed rosters?

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Cryptocurrency

Gambit Esports Partners with EXMO

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Gambit Esports has announced a one-year partnership with cryptocurrency exchange platform EXMO.

As part of the deal, EXMO will become the general partner of Gambit Esports’ CS:GO, Dota 2 and Apex Legends rosters, as well as AS Monaco Gambit’s Dota 2 and Fortnite teams.

As part of this collaboration, Gambit, with the support of EXMO, will in detail introduce the possibilities of cryptocurrencies to the esports fans, and will also help to debunk many myths in the industry.

“Many of our players have already become crypto-enthusiasts – cryptocurrencies have been a part of their portfolio for quite some time already, along with stocks and real estate. That’s why I support this partnership which we launch together with one of the most tech-savvy cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Welcome to the Gambit family, EXMO!” Konstantin Pikiner, Sports Director of Gambit Esports, said.

“We are pleased to welcome EXMO as the General Partner of our AS Monaco Gambit Dota 2 & Fortnite teams. The support of a renowned company like EXMO will allow us to continue nurturing our Esports section, while also developing a particularly innovative and engaging component,” Oleg Petrov, Vice-president & CEO at AS Monaco, said.

“Cooperation with a successful esports team has been in our plans for a while. Therefore, we are delighted to start our partnership with Gambit Esports, one of the most successful esports organizations in the world. With our joint initiative, we intend to highlight how much esports and cryptocurrencies have in common: both areas have become a part of modern life, and the last couple of years have only strengthened public interest in these industries. For traders, just like for esport athletes, such personal qualities as strategic thinking, courage and speed of reaction to changes are of great importance. Together with Gambit, we want to create many interesting opportunities for our audiences,” Sergey Zhdanov, CEO of EXMO, said.

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