League of Legends
Call of Duty
Within the past few years, esports exploded with growth opportunities. This latest growth comes as Swift, parent company to Team SoloMid (TSM), announced on Tuesday that they raised 37 million in a Series A funding round. A larger sum than the initial $25 million reported back in January from Bessemer Venture. TSM was one of the last major esports organizations without significant ties to major investors.
After all, owner and found Andy Dinh started his career making Champion guides for Riot’s League of Legends then turned around to create TSM out of his earnings. Speaking with Forbes, Dinh explained, “TSM has always run a very lean operation, so we haven’t set ourselves up to take advantage of the fast growth that this market is experiencing, so that’s what we’re trying to prepare ourselves to do.” With Team SoloMid being the most winningest (totally a word) team in the North American League Championship Series (NA LCS), the time has come for the organization to join the ranks of other esports organizations in terms of capital.
With League of Legends moving towards franchising this funding could not have come at a better time. Reportedly, $20 million will be used for franchising fees as well as a new epsorts facility in Los Angeles. Another $10 million used for further acquisitions and investments. With the recent success of the OWL, it is entirely possible that TSM is looking to take the remaining of their capital to bid for one of the expansion slots coming to OWL in its second season. However, at this time, their expansion into OWL remains speculation.
Here is the list of heavy hitters who teamed up with TSM through this first round:
- Stephen Curry, NBA player of the Golden State Warriors
- Jerry Yang, Internet entrepreneur, engineer and programmer
- Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company
- Steve Simon, co-founder of Simon Equity Partners and a board member of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers
- Andre Iguodala, NBA of Curry’s on the Golden State Warriors
- Steve Young, Hall of Fame NFL player
- Yifang Ventures, Chinese venture capital fund
- Colin Carrier, Chief Strategy Officer at Twitch
- Walter Wang, CEO of JM Eagle
The industry as we know it continues to grow and from that growth, we see higher and higher price tags. As traditional sports become more entangled in the ever-growing esports sector the list of former and current traditional sports stars will only grow.