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ANALYSIS: Why The $1B eSports Industry Is Set To Explode

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The global gaming industry has seen significant changes over the last few decades. Ever since the first computer game called Nim was designed by American physicist Edward Condon in 1940, there’s no looking back for the industry.

The video game console was introduced in the 1970’s and this evolution was rapid over the next few years. As video game graphics improved, companies such as Electronic Arts [EA] and Activision Blizzard [ATVI] were found.

Heavyweights such as Sony [SNE] and Microsoft [MSFT] soon wanted a piece of the gaming pie and introduced popular consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox. The global gaming market has grown at a spectacular pace and is expected to reach $137.9B by the end of this year, according to Newzoo.

The growth of eSports

The latest growing trend in the gaming space is eSports. eSports is a multiplayer video game played competitively by professional gamers.

While video games were traditionally played for recreation, it has now become a viable career option for gamers. The inflow of funds into eSports is set to drive prize money and sponsorship deals higher.

Gaming research company, Newzoo expects eSports to reach $905.6M by the end of 2018, a rise of 38% year-over-year. Newzoo estimates brand contribution alone to account for 77% of the eSports market or $694M this year. Better yet, the global eSports audience is expected to cross 380 million this year.

Major video game companies have entered the eSports space

The eSports segment has attracted the attention of top gaming companies. Activision Blizzard is already a market leader with its hugely successful launch of the Overwatch League.

The first season of the Overwatch League garnered attention from sponsors as well as spectators. The global audience spent 160 million hours watching matches of this league.

Activision recently announced the sale of eight new franchise teams bringing the total number of teams to 20. The gaming giant aims to have a total of 28 teams for the Overwatch League. While the first 12 teams were sold for $20M each, the next round of franchise sales was between $30M and $60M, according to ESPN.

Activision signed broadcasting deals with Amazon’s [AMZN] Twitch to stream live matches. It has a content partnership with Twitter [TWTR]. The company also bagged sponsorship deals with Intel [INTC], HP [HPQ] and T-Mobile [TMUS]. The broadcast rights and sponsorship deals have generated over $100M for Activision.

The worldwide eSports audience is estimated to reach 580 million by 2021 and this will lead to an increase in eSports tournaments.

Gaming firm’s such as Electronic Arts [EA] organized The FIFA Interactive World Cup, an annual video gaming competition. Companies including MLG, AHQ and Denial have multiple sports leagues as well.

Key drivers for eSports growth

Research company Newzoo expects the eSports market to touch $1.65B in 2021.

The company estimates that the growing industry will bring in contributions from sponsors and advertisers. Companies such as Twitch and YouTube [GOOG] will also eye media rights and broadcasting deals. Gaming publishers are paid ‘Game Publisher Fees’ to host tournaments.

There are also tickets and merchandise revenue generated via ticket sales for eSports events. The industry’s sponsorship revenue rose 55% to $250M last year while Twitch paid $90M this year to broadcast the Overwatch League.

Increase in viewership data and prize money

Twitch is an online streaming platform and primarily focuses on broadcasting eSports competitions from around the world. It has managed to grow its viewership base at a compounded rate of 21.3% in the last three years.

In 2017, viewers tuned in to watch 6 billion hours of content on Twitch. Earlier this year, YouTube made its largest eSports investment to date and signed a multi-year broadcasting deal with Faceit.

These partnerships and deals have resulted in a substantial increase in prize money. The total prize pool for the Dota 2 tournament exceeded $20M.

The above chart shows the earnings of top gaming players. Japan’s Kuro Takhasomi leads the eSports earnings with a prize money of $3.74M to date.

Tencent expects China to lead the eSports market

Tencent is the leading global gaming company in terms of revenue. The company estimates China’s eSports sector to reach 350 million users by 2020 and generate annual revenue of $1.5B. If this happens, the country will account for 59% of total viewers.

What’s more, the total number of eSports viewers might exceed Tennis viewership in the United States. As per Newzoo estimates the most popular eSports team will have a Twitter following exceeding that of Golden State Warriors.

With the game-streaming content set to exceed 10B hours across major platforms, the world’s 10 biggest cities might just invest in a dedicated eSports stadium.

Business

This Ex-NBA All Star May Just Have The No.1 Wine In The World

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Source: Forbes

Former NBA All Star Yao Ming had his career cut short by injuries. But he’s rebounded, big time, with big scores off the court.

(LOL at these sports cliches…)

Ming founded Yao Family Wines in California’s Napa Valley in 2011. Which is not a major deal; lots of celebrities make mediocre wines that eventually drop off.

Anyway, back in 2015, Ming raised $2M on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to scale his own wine. Here’s how it looked back then, according to the Wall Street Journal:

With Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign sapping demand for expensive wines, Yao Family Wines, the biggest seller of high-end Californian wine in China by value, is shifting its focus from Chinese banquet tables to U.S. steak houses. Now 15% of the winery’s revenues come from the US, compared to almost zero at the beginning in late 2011. The company said it has managed to grow its sales in a tough environment, without giving more details.

And now, Ming’s wine—legitimately—is now one of the best in the world, with an approval rating of 95+ from the world’s single most influential wine critic, Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate.

Here’s what he wrote:

“I am aware of all the arguments that major celebrities lending their names to wines is generally a formula for mediocrity, but that is not the case with Yao Ming. These are high-class wines. The two Cabernets are actually brilliant, and the Reserve bottling ranks alongside just about anything made in Napa.”

Another influential voice of wine the Wine Enthusiast went even further, awarding his wines 97 and 95 points respectively.

Check out his winery here.

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Uber Goes Public And Immediately Loses Over $6B In Value

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UBER just went public in the most anticipated IPO since Facebook went to Wall Street.

The ride-sharing company officially hit the New York Stock Exchange Friday, pricing its IPO at $45 a share, which put the ride-hailing company at $81B at 180M shares available—far below their initial $120B projection in their filings.

Uber ended the day at $41.60—down nearly 8% from its listing price, leading to a $6B+ valuation loss.

For perspective: Uber’s last private valuation was about $76B. It’s now worth $75.5B.

What’s happening?

Uber’s not the only one crashing out the gate. Even though Lyft beat Uber to the IPO punch, since going public in March, Lyft has lost 29% of its value.

Uber’s been plagued by a number of issues, compounded by the fact that none of the tech unicorns are profitable yet. Uber, for instance, burned through $1B in Q1 alone.

“They waited too long to go public,” Former NYSE President Tom Farley said. “Some of the issues they had — I’ll call it culture — some of the issues they had with their culture would’ve been solved in a public market. You wouldn’t show up on a quarterly conference call every quarter and have three or four new stories like they were having for 18 straight months.”

Did Uber IPO too late?

Although early investors made out like straight BANDITS—just look at Lance Armstrong—investors in the later stage haven’t been as lucky.

“I mean, you look at all the money invested in Uber — 25 billion bucks,” Farley said. “Their pre-money valuation last night was [$]73 [billion]. This is a 2.8x investment.

“That’s great and all, but the initial investors got 10,000 times their money. So the recent people, they haven’t been making money. This is a company that has needed public discipline, this is a company that has needed a public currency, and it’s a company that should have gone public three or four years ago.”

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Morgan Stanley Just Released Its List Of Top 10 Companies They’re Investing In

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Morgan Stanley just announced the second cohort of its Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post-seed to Series B funding rounds.

The program—now in its second year—targets companies with a multicultural or woman founder, co-founder, or any Chief (insert) Officer in charge of what it calls “innovative solutions across sectors.”

According to various studies, female founders, founders of color—and both—receive as little or less than 1% of venture capital funding—a gap Morgan Stanley says it wants to bridge.

“There is a compelling business case for investing in startups led by women and multicultural founders, yet, as found in our recent report, there is a large market inefficiency to accelerate businesses led by these founders,” Managing Director Alice Vilma says. “We are working to directly address this funding gap, one cohort at a time.”

With less than 3% admitted into the program, each startup will take a seat on its on floor inside Morgan Stanley’s global headquarters in Times Square, New York.

In addition, the companies funded receive pretty precious billboard space all over Times Square. It’s real fancy.

(Oh, snap!)

Here are the 10 companies that were selected:

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