Fnatic, a global esports franchise and lifestyle brand, has closed a financing round of over $7 million with investors including Jim Pallotta’s Raptor Group, Owners of AS Roma and the Boston Celtics; Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab; Hannes Wallin, CEO and Founder of Fractal Design; and the Hersh Interactive Group, co-owners of the Houston Astros.
The new funding will be used to further develop Fnatic’s esports infrastructure including support staff such as coaches, analysts, sports psychologists, further facilities, academy teams and more. In addition, the funds will be used to accelerate the growth of its product lines (esports equipment and apparel) to continue advancing esports into mainstream culture.
Sam Mathews, Founder of Fnatic, says, “There has been strong growth in esports, which has accelerated in recent years, but the major shift has been in the acceptance and inclusion by sports franchises, media companies and high profile individuals who have entered and advanced the industry rapidly. We’re incredibly excited by the opportunities available within esports, and having world class investors and advisors only enhances our ability to address these opportunities and continue to innovate.”
Esports has seen impressive growth with viewership already surpassing Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association with over 3 billion hours watched by U.S. residents alone. Additionally, the largest prize purses in esports are greater than the largest purses on the PGA Tour. Analysts forecast that the industry is expected to garner over 500 million viewers worldwide with annual revenues exceeding $5 billion by 2020.
Since launching in 2004 after Mathews sold his car to send the first team to an event, Fnatic has expanded into 10 professional teams in the most popular games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota2, Overwatch and more. Fnatic won the first ever League of Legends world championships and placed in the top 3 on two other occasions. It has won more CS:GO Majors than any other organization, as well as a strong record of being world class in over 20 titles since inception. Having garnered a huge global audience, including the largest social media following in esports with over eight million followers, the company has uniquely evolved into a lifestyle brand. Last year, Fnatic launched Fnatic Gear, its line of gaming peripherals including headphones and other professional-grade equipment, positioned toward gamers and non-gamers alike. Expanding into new verticals, Fnatic published a book with Penguin Random House named ‘How To Be a Professional Gamer’ along with launching BUNKR, the world’s first esports concept store, in the heart of London’s popular Shoreditch neighbourhood.
Fnatic Director and Raptor Group Investment Officer, Chris Pallotta noted, “Fnatic is at the forefront of advancing esports, constantly deploying innovative forms of engagement and monetization that we believe will transform the overall sports and entertainment industry over time.”
Fnatic is a leading, global esports organization with professional teams in the most popular games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and more. Since being founded in 2004 by Sam Mathews, Fnatic teams have collected numerous honors including winning the first ever LCS World Championship and winning three CS:GO Majors, in addition to other major gaming titles. In 2015, Fnatic launched Fnatic Gear, the hardware line of gaming peripherals. The organization launched the first ever esports concept store, BUNKR, dedicated to all things esports in 2016. Fnatic is headquartered in London, United Kingdom with additional offices and gaming houses in Berlin, Belgrade, Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur.
Source: Press releaase