Traditional sports and esports come from very different beginnings, but they’re starting to come together. The Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA basketball team, acquired the esports group Team Dignitas, and now the same kind of combination is happening in the media that cover sports and esports.
Esports is expected to grow to $1.5 billion business by 2020, according to market researcher Newzoo.
Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, which is owned by American City Business Journals (itself a division of Advance Publications, owner of Conde Nast Publications), is also making an investment in The Esports Observer, which has six employees. The two companies will collaborate on editorial, commercial and events.
This investment signals traditional media’s growing interest in the booming world of esports, the companies said.
“We are happy that through our collaboration with SportsBusiness Journal we found a partner who shares our long-term vision for business intelligence in the esports industry,” said Christopher Hana, CEO of The Esports Observer, in a statement. “This partnership will strengthen our ability to provide coverage in the US and organize conferences in tandem with SBJ and its sister company in London, Leaders.”
The Esports Observer was founded in 2015 and received funding earlier from Bitkraft Esports Ventures in Berlin. The Esports Observer offers business and market intelligence, publishes a digital esports business news platform, and hosts industry events and conferences.
As more advertisers, sponsors and elite investors flock to the rapidly evolving esports industry, The Esports Observer is developing a central information hub with the mission of helping decision-makers better understand the esports industry.
Whitney Shaw, CEO of American City Business Journals, said in a statement, “It’s clear to all of us at SportsBusiness Journal and to our readers who work and invest in traditional sports that esports is an exciting and significant development. This partnership allows SBJ to extend its authority and credibility into esports.”