TNL ESPORTS STARTUPS 009: PLAYS.TV RAISES $15M FROM 49ERS, NET'S JEREMY LIN
TNL Take: Last September after the Philadelphia 76ers bought 2 eSports teams, I predicted 3 Pro Sports Teams would make eSports investments: The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco 49er's and the Miami Dolphins.
We can now scratch the 2nd team off that list. On Friday, the San Francisco 49ers, the Brooklyn Nets Jeremy Lin and led by VC firm Shasta Ventures, invested $15M into Plays.tv.
Plays.tv has a Windows client that enables game capture and the ability to share highlights via their platform or various social networks. They also have partnerships with AMD Gaming and Team Dignitas, who are owned by the Philadelphia 76ers. Outside of highlights, the software is also being used by pros for replays and to review their gameplay.
Plays.tv was founded by gaming veteran Dennis Fong (eSports Athlete, Guinness World Record holder, started Raptr) and has a long history in the space.
But I'm shocked that Plays.tv was able to raise $15M.
Not only does Plays.tv have competition with other game highlight startups like Forge, Vibby, Oddshot, Liveshot, and Leet - there's Twitch's own Clips product. Further, I don't see Plays.tv currently monetizing but integrating video ads won't be difficult if they get scale.
This maybe a case of the VC mantra of "invest in founders/team" but it will be interesting to see how Plays.tv and their competition grow with continued market fragmentation across eSports broadcasting.