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The Esports Landscape (Feb. 2016)

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Initially published on Medium — February 25, 2016

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a gamer. When my friends and classmates were playing varsity sports, I was playing video games competitively. As a new VC and someone who is extremely excited about the eSports space, I wanted to take the time to map it out (at a high-level).

I’ve spent the past six months exploring and digging into the niches of eSports to create my current list of over 125 companies in eSports. Not every company falls into the buckets above, thus I have left them off the graphic — but, you can still find them at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

There are countless reasons why I chose to make this list public; however, the biggest reason is that this space is hard to navigate. If the industry wants to grow, both investors and outsiders need to know how to navigate it. My hope is that this list not only helps outsiders understand the space better, but that it also helps gamers discover new companies and tools.

What is eSports?

Here is a quick — TL;DR though:

eSports is synonymous with competitive gaming. In recent years, there has been an explosion in viewership and interest. For example, during the final match of the 2015 League of Legends World Championships, over 36M unique viewers tuned in. To give some context, that is more unique viewers that the 2015 MLB World Series had.

What does all of this mean?

Good question. I’m working on a series of blog post to navigate through each of these top-level buckets.

In my mind, a majority of eSports companies can be classified into one of the following buckets:

Aspiring Pro Gamer & Fan Resources

Companies that provide utility to fans and aspiring pros. These range from: news outlets to training platforms.

Professional Gamer Resources & Infrastructure

The organizations, platforms, products, and services that professionals use.

Streaming Resources

Anything and everything that has to do with video streaming content, in regards to gaming.

Betting & Marketplaces

From skill-based betting/matchmaking to fantasy sports and item marketplaces. This bucket was intentionally left vague as the betting and raffle side of eSports is worthy of it’s own map.

If I missed any companies or you are working on a company in the eSports industry, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to tweet me or e-mail me, I do my best to respond to everyone.

Disclaimer: Ludlow Ventures is an investor in Kickback and Vulcun.