We take a look at some of the top esports organisations according to brand recognition fan numbers, sponsorships and tournament winnings…
Professional esports organisations have grown to a level that would have been unthinkable two decades ago.
We take a look at five of the top teams in the West, according to 2015 viewer numbers, social media followings, sponsorships, tournament winnings and merchandise, as devised by Esports Entrepreneur .
Optic are one of the most well-known organisations in the competitive Call of Duty scene. They also have Halo, CSGO and Gears of War teams.
They celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2016 and are worth an estimated $24,583,758. The North American outfit have achieved at the top level on a consistent basis over the years.
Founded in 1999, US organisation Evil Geniuses has gone on to become one of the biggest names in esports. It is worth some $27,315,498.
Their Dota 2 team won the International tournament in 2015, taking home some $6m, and finished third in 2016, taking $2m in winnings.
Evil Geniuses also have StarCraft II and Street Fighter V players, as well as a professional Halo team.
Another North American outfit, Team SoloMid (aka TSM) are well-known in the League of Legends community. It has some of the most high-profile and best-supported players in the world, including Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
TSM also has Super Smash Bros, CSGO, Hearthstone and Vainglory teams, and was worth $27,487,306 as of 2015. TSM’s fanbase are known for being incredibly passionate and dedicated.
Worth an estimated $30,149,755 in 2015, Cloud9 have top teams in a wide variety of games, including Call of Duty, Vainglory, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Smash Bros, Overwatch and CSGO, as well as a selection of streamers.
For such a well-known organisation, it is still relatively new. Cloud9’s League of Legends team was formed in 2013.
Technically based in London and founded in 2004, Fnatic have grown to become a household name in the world of esports.
Worth an estimated $42,570,583 as of 2015, Fnatic have excelled on the marketing and merchandising side of their business, as well as their tournament successes – they won the very first League of Legends World Championship. Fnatic have more than 2m followers on social media, and have teams in Overwatch, CSGO, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends.
What about the rest?
The likes of Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan have produced some of the best esports players and teams in the world.
South Korea’s SK Telecom T1 are widely regarded as the world’s greatest League of Legends team, having won the 2015 World Championship and 2016 Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, while the ROX Tigers are another successful League of Legends outfit from South Korea.
There are plenty of other well-known and established teams around the world, including Cognitive Gaming, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, LGD Gaming and more.
Other big names have enjoyed strong investor funding in recent years, including the UK’s homegrown Team Dignitas (now owned by the North American Philadelphia 76ers basketball team), Immortals, NRG esports (including investment from former pro basketball player Shaquille O’Neal), Virtus.Pro, Echo Fox, Renegades and Team Liquid.
Other big name football clubs, like Schalke 04, West Ham United, Manchester City, Valencia, Wolfsburg and PSG are signings esports players and teams.