UK investors are finally waking up to esports ‘gold rush’

05th Nov. 2018

London, 11 October 2018 – UK investors are finally waking up to the ‘gold rush’ of esports, according to tech investor Tej Kohli. Despite the rapid and growing success of esports across the world, Tej Kohli believes mainstream investors in Britain have been slow off the mark.

But the billionaire businessman believes that the growth of the game in the US and Asia, the high-profile celebrity investments in esports teams and the interest of young consumers is alerting UK investors to its potential.

“I am convinced that this will be the next big thing in the world of global sports and I am excited to be taking steps as an early investor in the UK. As this trend begins to grow in Europe, I hope to see more young audiences interested as well as more UK investors backing individual franchises and waking up to the ‘gold rush’.”

Mainstream investment has naturally concentrated in the US and Asia, where the sport has already captured the imagination of consumers, particularly youth; however, in recent months, we have seen an expansion in its presence within Europe.

In June, Manchester City became the first ever Premier League club to launch a FIFA online team in China and participate in the Online Star League (FSL).

While West Ham announced a partnership with financial services firm Basset & Gold to sponsor their burgeoning esports division making them the first football club in the UK to sign esports player, Danny Taylor.

Leicester City’s title-winning defender Christian Fuchs is one of the first UK players to invest and, earlier this year, launched his own esports academy. He is now the first Premier League star with his own video games team.

Tech billionaire Tej Kohli believes that it is only a matter of time for UK investors to unlock the potential of esports and start their own teams or back companies like Gfinity, the UK’s only listed esports business. He is also keen to reach the younger demographic who have the possibility of becoming future professionals.

The 60-year-old is currently in discussions to enter the market himself and is convinced that esports players and teams will eventually become household names thought of in the same breath as football clubs.

Mr Tej Kohli said:

“esports has the potential to be one of the biggest sports on the planet and it would be no surprise to see an online gaming franchise rival the commercial footprint of Manchester United in a decade. I am also eager for this trend to take off among the younger generation in Europe.

I’m a big sports fan myself, and The Houston Rockets were one of the first major sports teams that I noticed showing a real interest in esports. From then it was something I decided to keep a close eye on.

I think increasingly the players will be where a lot of the focus is, just like it is with more traditional sports. In a few years’ time I am convinced these same players will earn Premier League money, their teams be household names, and esports thought of in the same breath as football clubs.”

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Notes to Editors

What is esports
esports or competitive gaming refers to organised video gaming tournaments that culminate in regional and international championships. It is a form of competition using video games in which professional and amateur players compete against one another.

esports is easily accessible and is projected to attract more and more audiences in the coming years. In 2016, the number of enthusiasts and viewers totalled 323 million – this is estimated to double by 2020.

The League of Legends is the most popular online gaming platform with a player base of 67 million in mid-2015. That same year, 36 million individuals streamed the League of Legends World Championships online.

Other platforms include DOTA 2 and Call of Duty extending their reach into the million-dollar prize pools and turning esports into a profession. Leading players in the industry include US player, Peter Dager, who has earned USD 2.62 million throughout his recorded esports gaming career, and female esports player, Sasha Hostyn, who has recorded USD 171,000 last year.

esports industry globally
The esports industry has exploded in the last five years and is expected to generate £2 billion in revenue globally by 2020, as 400 million spectators watch professional gamers battle it out either online or at huge bespoke events.

Like ‘real’ sports, esports makes money from investments, branding, advertising and media deals.

It is estimated that by 2020, 70 million people will watch esports final tournaments, which is more than the viewership for the American professional baseball, soccer, and hockey finals.

esports investors
This rapid success has been fuelled by the US and Asian markets and attracted major mainstream investors from these jurisdictions.

In the US alone, investors include celebrities such as Jeff Bezos from Amazon, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and actor Ashton Kutcher, to sports franchises like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

About Mr Tej Kohli
Tej Kohli, businessman, visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist, rose to success building solutions for e-commerce businesses during the peak of the dot-com boom. After investing in a number of tech products which were successfully launched, sold and white-labelled, he turned his hand to building a global property portfolio.

Since his days studying at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mr Kohli has harboured a deep passion for technology. He decided to harness his success in e-commerce and real estate to transform the world for the better.

This desire to be at the forefront of ethical and sustainable innovation, coupled with his interest in the cutting edge of major disruptive technologies, led to the founding of Kohli Ventures.

It is Mr Kohli’s belief that emerging technologies hold the key to improving the lives of millions of people across the globe, as well as tackling many of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. His humanitarian vision for AI and robotics led him to become a major investor in Rewired, a ground-breaking robotics-focused venture studio specialising in helping the next generation of robots understand and interact with the world around them.

For Tej Kohli, philanthropy, entrepreneurship and global business form the ideal combination to drive innovative solutions that create positive impact.