Global esports franchise Fnatic announced today that they have finished a round of funding, securing upwards of US $7 million from investors from the traditional sports sector, as well as other industries. Investors on this round include AS Roma, the parent company for the Boston Celtics, as well as Fractal Design, Hersch Interactive, and the MIT Media Lab.
Fnatic Secures Major Funding
Fnatic has been evolving over the past few years, from simply being an organization fielding professional teams in a myriad of esports titles, to becoming a holistic brand, complete with merchandise. According to the press release, a portion of these funds will be used to accelerate the growth of their product lines, which can be found on their official website. While many esports organizations offer clothing, apparel, and accessories emblazoned with their team logo, Fnatic also offers a complete line of gaming gear, such as keyboards, mice, and headsets.
The money secured from the round of funding will also serve to bolster the teams infrastructure. It has become increasingly common over the past few years for esports teams to employ a large compliment of staff to support their rosters. This includes coachs, analysts, sports psychologists, and often even chefs.
According to the founder of Fnatic, Sam Mathews, the recent boom in esports is at least partly due to its “acceptance and inclusion by sports franchises, media companies and high profile individuals.” Experts expect annual revenue in esports to cross US $5 billion by 2020, with viewership in the US already having surpassed the MLB, NHL, and NBA.
According to the press release, when Mathews founded Fnatic in 2004, he sold his car to send his first team to a tournament. Now the organization plays in nearly every major esports title, sells merchandise and gear made for gamers and casual users, published a book in collaboration with Random House titled, How to Be A Professional Gamer, and opened BUNKR, a brick and mortar esports concept store in London.