Esports Valuations Slow Despite Video Game Surge

    • Following a 54% rise in average value in 2019, growth of the top 10 organizations stayed even this year.
    • This article was first published in the FOS AM Newsletter. Subscribe here.

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Video games exploded during the pandemic, but most esports organizations didn’t reap the benefits. 

Following a 54% rise in average value in 2019, growth of the top ten organizations stayed even this year, at an average valuation of $240 million, according to Forbes.

Most Valuable Esports Organizations

  1. TSM — $410 million, up 3% year over year
  2. Cloud 9 — $350 million, down 13%
  3. Team Liquid — $310 million, down 3%
  4. FaZe Clan — $305 million, up 27%
  5. 100 Thieves — $190 million, up 19%

Though some organizations saw growth, the pandemic has fostered overall stagnation. Some of last year’s tournaments were played in front of over 40,000 in-person spectators and revenue was expected to jump 16% to $1.1 billion this year.

Instead, revenue dropped by $150 million as COVID-19 limited events. With tournaments constrained, merchandise, media rights and sponsorship income all but dried up.

Previous projections suggested esports organizations could surpass NFL teams in value as investors — from venture capitalists to celebrities and athletes — dumped money into the hype. 

With more than $4.8 billion invested into the industry over the past five years, VC firms are putting pressure on esports endeavors to make money.

Some esports organizations are looking beyond tournaments and leagues for revenue. FaZe Clan and 100 Thieves, for example, already make 20% or less from competitive play, relying primarily on original content and influencer power.