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Esports is the widely-accepted name for video game tournaments but as the gaming industry expands and matures, the lines between casual and competition continue to blur.

I’m not rallying for the term ‘esports’ to include more than competitive gaming by any means, quite the opposite in fact, but organizations that comprise the industry are doing much more than simply competing against each other these days.

In an effort to become profitable — these orgs are businesses at the end of the day — team brands are having to look elsewhere to generate revenue. Housing competitive players is not a cheap endeavour when you consider salaries, travel, accommodation, bonuses, and all other subsequent expenses that are agreed upon.

It’s tough to monetize this side of gaming considering events, disregarding Valve’s annual The International for Dota 2, don’t dish out enough prize money to provide a return on investment. You can sell spots on jerseys and make your players promote products on social media, but it’s simply still not enough — especially with salaries growing disproportionate to the return said players provide.

100 thieves nadeshot 2hype
100 Thieves

100 Thieves recently signed YouTube group 2HYPE.

The future of esports organizations?

Forbes released their annual esports organization valuations earlier this month, which were met with scepticism by many, but they do have some use regardless of their accuracy. Not only does the report include the magazine’s valuations for the top 10 teams, it provides estimated annual revenue and how much of it came from esports.

Now, these are to be taken with a pinch of salt for plenty of reasons, but they do provide some level of insight into where the money is coming from at many of the leading organizations in the industry. By looking at the portion of income that’s relevant to esports, with the context of their estimated overall revenue, we can build a picture of where these organizations are placing their bets for the future.

North American org TSM came in at the top spot in Forbes’ list with a speculative valuation of $410 million. Their estimated revenue for the year is $45 million, with 50% of it coming from esports. Swift Media, the parent company of the team, also operate AI-driven gaming coach app Blitz, they house plenty of popular gaming influencers, and earlier this week launched talent agency ICON.

TSM compete in titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege, but it’s very clear that they’re trying to be more than simply a competitive organization when you look at their entire structure. They’re signing influencers to spread awareness of the TSM brand, managing them through their now-public talent agency, and competing in titles as a loss leader that serves a large fan base.

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TSM Hamlinz

Hamlinz and Daequan are just a couple of the talented gaming…



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