Luminosity Gaming, Enthusiast Gaming’s esports vertical, is Canada’s largest esports organization, consisting of 7 esports teams under ownership and management. The company’s roster includes 50+ influencers and content creators. Notably, popular streamer Ninja last competed for Luminosity before striking out on his own. Luminosity derives revenues from a combination of sponsorships, merchandise sales, prize revenues, management revenues, and league sharing revenues. They currently field teams and content creators in Overwatch, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, Apex Legends, Madden, Smite, and Call of Duty.
Enthusiast Gaming’s digital media network of websites and YouTube channels is verified as the largest online gaming information network in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s notable properties include Destructoid, Escapist, and The Sims Resource, whereby it monetizes via a combination of digital advertising and subscription services.
Gaming hardware companies produce peripherals (e.g. headsets, keyboards), gaming devices and processing units. These companies may act as endemic sponsors for popular streamers and esports organizations. As gaming becomes more competitive and increasingly popular, the hardware sector may benefit from increased demand.
- As with media companies, gaming hardware manufacturers can provide game-agnostic exposure to the esports industry.
- Gaming hardware companies generally produce products that appeal to a wide array of gamers, including casual players and esports professionals.
- Hardware can be seen as the “picks and shovels” of the gaming industry.
Market Capitalization: $1.4 billion
Razer is a leading gaming lifestyle brand, sporting the tagline “for gamers, by gamers”. Razer is best known for its hardware segment, which includes high-performance gaming peripherals and Razer Blade gaming laptops. Razer’s software vertical includes Razer Synapse (an Internet of Things platform), Razer Chroma (a proprietary RGB lighting technology system), and Razer Cortex (a game optimizer and launcher). Razer’s services business consists of Razer zGold and Razer Pay, an e-wallet targeting Gen Z.
Gaming Peripherals & Hardware
Razer is a global leader in gaming peripherals and hardware. The company’s Razer Huntsman Elite is the best-selling gaming keyboard in the US, while its Razer Blade is the best-selling high-end gaming laptop.
Razer is known as an endemic sponsor in esports, acting as the hardware partner for many of the top esports teams, including Immortals, Gen.G and Evil Geniuses. In total, they sponsor 18 organizations.
Turtle Beach (HEAR)
Market Capitalization: $127 million
Turtle Beach was founded in 1975 as Octave Electronics, a company focused on music and audio-related products, including analog music synthesizers and PC sound cards. Over time, the company leveraged its audio expertise and evolved into one of the world’s premier gaming headset brands. Turtle Beach is credited with creating the first ever console gaming headset and is the leader in the North American console headset market.
Turtle Beach is the North American leader in gaming headsets, providing peripherals to everyone from casual gamers to esports professionals. Turtle Beach’s product line includes 21 console gaming headsets and 5 PC gaming headsets. In 2018, Turtle Beach posted a record year as a result of the “Fortnite Effect”. Fortnite, a battle royale title where 100 players compete in a single map, emphasized the importance of high-quality audio for casual gamers. In esports and streaming, Turtle Beach acts as an endemic sponsor. Notable partners include the Houston Outlaws (Overwatch), Astralis (CS:GO), and Dr. Disrespect (popular streamer).
In May 2019, Turtle Beach acquired Roccat, a Hamburg and Taipei-based provider of PC mice, keyboards, headsets, and software. Roccat offers a complete line of gaming mice (9), keyboards (8), and headsets (5). The company is built on German engineering, offering unique innovations targeting PC gamers. The acquisition of Roccat represents expansion into a new vertical (PC gaming) and new markets (Europe and Asia).
Broad-based companies are stakeholders in various segments in the esports value chain.
Sea Limited (SE)
Market Capitalization: $17.6 billion
Sea Limited is the leading digital entertainment and e-commerce company in Greater Southeast Asia (“GSEA”), which consists of the combined region of Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Formerly known as Garena, Sea was founded in Singapore in 2009. Sea’s business consists of three distinct verticals: Garena (digital entertainment), Shopee (e-commerce), and AirPay (digital payments).
Free Fire, Garena’s self-developed mobile battle royale, is one of the world’s most popular mobile games. As of August 2019, the game had more than 450 million registered users — for reference, Fortnite last reported 250 million registered users. The title is especially popular in Latin America and Southeast Asia, generating in excess of $1 billion cumulative revenues. Free Fire has a burgeoning esports scene as well — the Free Fire World Series 2019 achieved over 100 million cumulative views, with more than 1 million concurrent viewers for the Brazilian qualifiers.
Garena+ is an online gaming platform. Through Garena+, the company publishes and distributes game software to Southeast Asia and Taiwan including Call of Duty: Mobile, Arena of Valor, and FIFA Online. Greater Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing gaming and esports market.
Tencent (700 HK)
Market Capitalization: $441.2 billion
In terms of revenue, Tencent is the largest gaming company in the world. In 2018, it earned more than $19 billion in gaming software sales, representing 18.4% of the global market. The Chinese company owns stakes in several notable game publishers, game developers, and livestreaming platforms.
Tencent’s ownership in game developers includes:
- Riot Games 100%
- Epic Games 48.4%
- Bluehole 11.5%
- Ubisoft 5%
- Activision Blizzard 5%
- Grinding Gear Games 80%
- Supercell 84.3%
- Frontier Developments 9%
- Kakao 13.5%
- Paradox Interactive 5%
- Fatshark 36%
- Funcom 29%
- Sharkmob 100%
Tencent also owns Huya, Douyu, bilibili, and Discord.
Riot Games, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent, is an American game developer, publisher and esports tournament operator. The company’s flagship product is League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game. League of Legends is one of the world’s leading esports, and was the highest-grossing PC esport globally in 2018 at $1.9 billion in revenues, according to Niko Partners. League is one of the oldest esports, having recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary by announcing 8 million daily active players. It is also amongst the most developed in terms of infrastructure and scale, with parent company Riot Games overseeing franchised leagues on 3 continents. In 2019, Evil Geniuses acquired a slot in the North American LCS for a reported $30.25 million. In addition to League of Legends, Riot released Teamfight Tactics in 2019, and announced plans to release a series of additional titles in the coming years.
Epic is a video game and software development company. Epic is best-known for publishing Fortnite, the world’s most popular battle royale game. In terms of esports, Fortnite will award the largest dollar figure in prize money of any esport in 2019, highlighted by the $30 million Fortnite World Cup. According to Niko Partners, Fortnite generated $1.25 billion in 2018 on PC, with an additional $455 million from mobile (iOS only). In 2019, Epic Games purchased Psynoix, the developer of popular esport Rocket League. Epic Games’ additional properties include the Epic Games Store, and its Unreal Engine, one of the most successful game engines in the world. As of 2018, Epic Games was valued at an estimated $15 billion.
As highlighted above, there are various publicly-traded stocks that provide exposure to the esports ecosystem. Below is a summary of the ten companies we highlighted.
Selected Esports Stocks
|Ticker||Name||Country||Market Cap||Esports Relevance||Notable Brands|
|ATVI||Activision Blizzard Inc||United States||$45,028||Games||Overwatch, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft|
|EA||Electronic Arts Inc||United States||$30,868||Games||FIFA, Madden, Apex Legends|
|HUYA||HUYA Inc||China||$3,803||Media||Huya, Chendu Hunters, Royal Never Give Up|
|DOYU||DouYu International Holdings Ltd||China||$2,477||Media||Douyu, NonoLive|
|MTGB SS||Modern Times Group MTG AB||Sweden||$774||Media||ESL, Dreamhack|
|EGLX CN||Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc||Canada||$86||Media||Luminosity, Vancouver Titans, Seattle Surge|
|1337 HK||Razer Inc||Singapore||$1,433||Hardware||Razer Blade, Razer Huntsman, Team Razer|
|HEAR||Turtle Beach Corp||United States||$127||Hardware||Turtle Beach, Roccat|
|SE||Sea Ltd||Singapore||$17,603||Broad-Based||Garena+, Free Fire, Call of Duty: Mobile|
|700 HK||Tencent Holdings Ltd||China||$441,234||Broad-Based||League of Legends, Fortnite|