In August 2021, digital entertainment and technology company JetSynthesys acquired Indian esports firm Skyesports for an undisclosed amount.
As a result, JetSynthesys now owns a 65 per cent stake in Skyesports. One of the key selling factors of the acquisition is to help improve the tournament organiser’s presence in the Indian landscape. Skyesports has recently made its mark in India by hosting major esports events that featured record prize pools and involved popular figures in the Indian esports landscape.
JetSynthesys, on the other hand, has been busy raising and investing resources to strengthen its stronghold in the digital entertainment industry, gaming being one of them. JetSynthesys is already associated with NODWIN Gaming, another major esports firm within the region, which is currently focused on global expansion.
However, unlike its relationship with NODWIN, JetSynthesys has decided to directly invest in the domestic esports scene through Skyesports.
AFK Gaming, on behalf of Esports Insider, had the opportunity to interview Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO of Skyesports, to discuss the firm’s acquisition and its future plans.
Being acquired by JetSynthesys
Speaking about the deal, Nandy revealed: “We definitely were approached by a lot of investors and Venture Capitalists in the last one year and we had initiated conversations on the funding. We had almost closed on a deal but were not keen on continuing.”
In addition, Nandy mentioned that past working relationships with JetSynthesys helped initiate the funding conversation.
“Our synergies and visions matched and we didn’t think twice. Rajan sir and team are visionaries in gaming and we knew it would be a great journey together. It all happened so quickly and smoothly,” he said.
With any large acquisition, there is bound to be a restructuring process, but Nandy highlighted that this won’t be the case with Skyesports. He iterated the fact that JetSynthesys and Skyesports are ‘strategic partners’ and share the same vision on building the gaming ecosystem. The company will stick to its core verticals which it has built its name over the last year.
Investing in regional content creation
The partnership primarily focuses on the growth of esports at regional levels. Shedding some light on their plans ahead, Nandy shared that the company has taken regional languages across different parts of the country as the focal point for regional penetration.
Nandy explained: “For example, the ongoing Skyesports Championship 3.0 is being streamed in nine languages: Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi to ensure that no one is left out.”
The fact of the matter is, Nandy believes that regional content can open doors for brands and sponsors to connect with people from different demographics. “The response from this regional and vernacular push has been impressive and drives us to do more,” he added.
Nandy further emphasised how Skyesports has successfully reached out to the grassroots level community. He said: “Skyesports acknowledges the diversity of Indian regional communities which is largely ignored as the general esports community in India is very Hindi-focused.”
Setting the Skyesports Streamers Showdown for Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) as an example, Nandy explained how more tournaments are cast in a wide array of languages to ensure that they connect with young players who are new to the sport. Skyesports also intends to host more tournaments that involve underdogs and amateurs, which is a key to building a solid foundation for esports at the grassroots level.
Speaking about other parties in the Indian esports space, such as NODWIN Gaming and The Esports Club, among others, Nandy emphasised how it is ‘extremely important’ to have many tournament organisers build the ecosystem.
“Currently, every TO in India is coming up with unique IPs which increases the opportunity for players and also showcases the TO’s creativity. More tournaments will be a benefit for the brands in the gaming sector as well as to reach out to their target groups in the right way” he concluded.
Focusing on VALORANT, BGMI and future plans
The ongoing Skyesports Championship 3.0 has a prize pool of INR 5.5m (~£53,900) among which INR4.7m is reserved for BGMI and VALORANT. Nandy says that the reason behind this is due to both titles’ high engagement and participation numbers.
Since its inception in 2018, Skyesports have hosted tournaments for over 10 titles. Alongside VALORANT and BGMI, the Skyesports Championship 3.0 has Brawl Stars, Clash of Clans, and two more unannounced titles in the tournament. “One of these is an exciting mobile game while the other is a popular PC title,” mentioned Nandy.
Skyesports is also planning to create more local and regional IPs to provide an opportunity for budding teams to participate and hone their skills. While building the new IPs, the company has and will continue to focus on features that enhance spectating, production level and generate a better viewership experience.
With a strong focus on the production value, the firm will also monitor how the community is enjoying the competitive aspects of these titles. Nandy also acknowledged the importance of the presence of popular esports teams to ensure an entertaining experience for the audience.
A deal such as this may have a tremendous impact on the Indian esports ecosystem especially since it is still in its early stages of growth. Earlier this year, India’s NODWIN Gaming raised INR 1.64bn (£16.1m) in equity investment from Krafton. Interestingly, JetSynthesys was one of the early investors in NODWIN as well.
While the company is more of a traditional esports agency, having hosted some marquee competitions that have defined the Indian esports landscape, third party organisers like Skyesports will not only create more opportunities for players and brands, but also introduce new ideas to better the spectator experience.
This story is written in collaboration with AFK Gaming. It is an India-based esports media and content company that aims to provide quality and consistent coverage about teams, players, tournaments, and competitive video games with a primary focus on the Asian region.