Esports is Changing the Game in Entertainment

Sam Matthews — Founder of Fnatic.

Sam founded Fnatic in 2004, since its inception it has been a pioneering brand at the forefront of the Esports industry, an emerging behemoth that is reshaping the landscape of sports and entertainment as we know it. Fnatic’s teams of elite gamers go head to head with the competition in games like League of Legends and Fortnite, tournaments such as Overwatch now take place in huge arenas filled with gaming fans from around the world, captivated by epic battles featuring phenoms like POW3R and Rekkles, Fnatic players with massive global followings.

Fnatic is now the most iconic and most dominant team in Esports history and is known as the “Esports equivalent of football super-team Real Madrid” (BBC).

Fnatic — 15 years at the top ; 55m global audience ; 209 Championships ; 370 Medal wins ; $15m USD prizes won.

"Esports isn’t a new technology or new fad. It’s a full blown shift in entertainment and culture.”

­— Forbes

Fnatic x Gucci: The Dive watch 40mm.

As the clout of Esports grows, brands and advertisers increasingly view Esports as an important new class of sports with a cult following amongst young Millennials and Gen Z. As a result e-thletes, teams and competitions are awarded substantial sponsorships from household brand names and Fnatic is fast becoming the channel through which the most forward-thinking brands communicate with young people, with brand collaborations including the likes of Gucci, BMW and Yeezy.

As with traditional sports, Fnatic’s star players are celebrities in their own right, with a huge number of social followers, we believe that in the near future Fnatic e-thletes will rival the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Roger Federer in terms of global fame.

Gaming is the most consumed form of entertainment in the world. In 2018, revenues from gaming ($116B) outstripped music ($17B), films ($41B), and television ($105B).

Total watch time: Gaming (61B hrs) vs. Netflix (58B hrs).

Since Fnatic’s Series A in 2019, BlackPine has teamed with Sam and his stellar team to meet the next stage of Fnatic’s expansion, levelling up by bolstering its appeal to global audiences with a mass affluent strategy, opening up future brand collaborations, implementing marketing campaigns worldwide, and evolving its focus further beyond the hard-core gamer fanbase and pro gear, gaming chairs, PC peripherals and energy drinks.

Despite how far Fnatic has come since we met Sam 15 years ago, there is still plenty of room for opportunity. There remains a vast untapped market for esports beyond hard-core gamers and despite it’s massive growing audience base, Esports remains in the early stages of monetisation. (Revenue per fan: Esports $3.9 NBA $34.6 MLB $34.6), and the sport has a massive foothold in Asia that continues to grow year on year (APAC account for 57% of Esports Enthusiasts in 2019).

Esports already attracts more young males viewers than both the NBA finals and the World Series. A demographic tidal wave brought by the expansion of the Millennial and Gen Z populations in the coming years means a likely exponential increase in engagement with Esports and the the associated influence around it, so we are excited to partner with Fnatic at this watershed moment for the sport to help realise the its full potential as a seismic game changer in the entertainment industry, with Fnatic at the lead.