Esports investment report, January 2023: NIP Group, eUnited, Overwatch League

02 February 2023


January 2023 Esports Investment
Image credit: Esports Insider

The new year is upon us, and the first month of the year is always interesting from an investment standpoint.

Some companies reveal notable changes they prepared the year before, and others remain quiet. This January saw a large merger take place and the creation of NIP Group, however, it also saw eUnited close its doors and much more.

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Spotlighted story

NIP Group
Image credit: NIP Group

Swedish esports and gaming organisation Ninjas in Pyjamas has completed its merger with Chinese digital sports group ESV5 E-SPORT GROUP CO., forming a new entity called NIP Group.

The merger will see the Group enter the Chinese market and officially join the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) this year. The Group will also operate a number of support businesses in events and entertainment production.

The merger was first announced in the summer of 2021, however, due to the scale of the deal it took a while go get it finalised. The leading personnel from both companies will remain in the Group after the merger.

Seoul infernal
Image credit: Seoul Infernal

Overwatch League team Philadelphia Fusion, owned by American sports and entertainment company Comcast Spectacor, has rebranded to Seoul Infernal and officially moved all operations to South Korea.

As Philadelphia Fusion, the franchise has been operating from South Korea since early 2020, when it moved there because of the pandemic. Going forward, all players, management and employees of Philadelphia Fusion will remain employed by Seoul Infernal.

Overwatch League
Image credit: Shutterstock

Over half of the franchised teams in the Overwatch League (OWL) are reportedly seeking legal action against North American game developer Activision Blizzard.

According to The Jacob Wolf Report, the teams have hired British law firm Sheridans, as the franchises seek to recoup costs following ‘continually missed promises on revenue’.

The suit is being partly led by Canadian esports holding company Overactive Media, the owner of OWL’s Toronto Defiant, Call of Duty League’s Toronto ULTRA and MAD Lions, per the report.

fourth wall esports club branding
Image credit: Fourth Wall Esports Club

Former UK esports organisation owners, all of which are ex-staff of X7 Esports, have joined forces to create a new organisation called Fourth Wall Esports Club.

Fourth Wall will be spearheaded by four prominent former X7 Esports staff members: Alfie Wright, Tony ‘Newts’ Newton, Robin ‘Robinho’ Cheng, and Nile ‘Oldboy’ Lynch.

Following the announcement, British esports organisation London Esports has rebranded to Fourth Wall Esports Club after remaining inactive for several months following its acquisition from X7 Esports.

Specifically, Wright became X7’s Chief Operating Officer after the organisation acquired London Esports in June 2022. He was London Esports’ founder and CEO.

Image credit: eUnited

North American esports organisation eUnited has closed down and parted ways with all of its employees, according to a report from The Esports Advocate.

According to TEA sources, only eUnited CEO Adam Stein remains employed by the company, with the last members of the team leaving in late 2022.

The organisation, founded in 2016, is a North American esports brand that featured teams across multiple games, ranging from PUBG and CS:GO to Halo and Gears of War. It is perhaps best known for its presence in Call of Duty and PUBG, with the latter finishing fourth at the PUBG Global Championship in 2022.

gbarena galactech
Image credit: GBarena / galactech

MENA esports platform GBarena has acquired Tunisian company Galactech for a total of $15m (~£12.2m). 

The deal is set to be completed in the form of a share swap and serves to improve GBarena’s position in North Africa, as well as MENA.

Founded in 2019, Galactech is an entertainment and esports company focusing on tournament organisation and content creation in its home region. The company partnered with the Tunisian Esports Federation in late 2021 to create better tournaments in North Africa and work on improving national esports teams in the region. The company currently has more than 200,000 active users.

Geek Fam rebrands to Geek Slate
Image credit: Geek Slate

Malaysian esports organisation Geek Fam has rebranded to Geek Slate following a major partnership with Web3 media startup Avium.

Avium was co-founded by Ivan Yeo, the former CEO of EVOS Esports, in 2022 and had previously launched its own esports vertical called Slate Esports. Last year, the company secured a $2m (~£1.68m) pre-seed round led by Saison Capital.

Slate Esports currently competes in MPL Singapore, the country’s regional Mobile Legends: Bang Bang league.

TGS Esports
Image credit: TGS Esports

Illinois-based gaming and entertainment company Midnight Gaming has entered an agreement to acquire Canadian game marketing solutions provider TGS Esports.

The deal sees Midnight acquire all of TGS’ outstanding securities. TGS’ deal with
Midnight, it is hoped, will help provide the company with opportunities to drive additional revenue, as well as to help the entertainment company access a larger audience of gaming enthusiasts.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.