The first Autumn month brought with it several interesting developments in the esports business space. Tournament organiser BLAST announced a new financing round, TSM sold its LEC franchise slot to Shopify Rebellion, and Arsenal footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko started his own esports organisation.
Here is a roundup of the most important esports investment stories from September 2023.
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North American esports organisation TSM has sold its League of Legends LCS franchise slot to Shopify Rebellion, ending its over decade-long tenure in North America’s top-tier.
TSM’s League of Legends roster will compete under the Shopify Rebellion banner for the 2024 season. Details such as potential roster changes and the price of the franchise slot were not disclosed.
It has been publicly known throughout the year that TSM, one of the LCS’ inaugural organisations, was looking to sell its franchise spot. The organisation even confirmed its LCS departure in May this year, highlighting its intention to join another league in 2024. This is rumoured to be China’s LPL.
Esports tournament organiser BLAST has raised €12.7m (~£11m) in its latest funding round to help accelerate the company’s growth worldwide.
The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), alongside a number of internal investors, has backed BLAST as the company looks to head towards profitability in 2023.
In a press release, BLAST shared that the funding round will help strengthen and expand the company’s position as a leading developer of global esports ecosystems. The funds will enable BLAST to continue producing esports events worldwide in collaboration with game publishers, such as Valve, Ubisoft, and Epic Games.
EPOS Gaming, the gaming division of Danish enterprise audio solutions company EPOS, has let go of its staff and shut down.
EPOS Gaming Director of Product Management, Troels Rasmussen, and Global Partnership Specialist, Jacob Grandahl Jørgensen, both shared the news through their social media profiles, citing the market situation as a reason for the closure.
Although officially launched in 2020, EPOS was formerly known as Sennheiser Communications, a joint venture between audio brand Sennheiser and hearing aid brand Demant. After the joint venture ceased to exist, EPOS was created as a standalone brand in the Demant roster of companies.
Australian esports organisation Team Bliss has announced the acquisition of fellow Australian organisation The Chiefs Esports Club.
The two companies will merge but continue to operate as independent brands going forward, keeping both the Team Bliss and The Chiefs names alive. Australian esports industry insider Chris Smith will also take on an advisory role during the merger.
The two companies noted that the merger has been in the works for a while, and that they had built a relationship over the past 12 months. Bliss and Chiefs notably worked together with Logitech G on the launch of the new Logitech G Pro X2 headset. No decisions have been made regarding future teams or titles to compete in, they said.
Ukrainian footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko, currently playing for Premier League club Arsenal, has created a new esports organisation called Passion UA alongside former NAVI coach MykhailoBlahin.
The organisation will debut with a CS:GO roster that will soon start competing at regional and international events. The team consists of five Ukrainian players aged between 16 and 18.
Zinchenko announced the launch of the new organisation with a letter to fans published on the Passion UA’s website. He noted that a project such as this was a dream of his for a long time, and that he wishes for the company to redefine the way fans experience and engage with competitive gaming.