TNL ESPORTS STARTUPS 010: SUPER LEAGUE GAMING
TNL Take: I love Super League Gaming. I love their product. I love their people. I love their model.
I've covered SLG a few times but let me give a TL/DR for the adults that have those walking petri dishes called kids:
It is an organized league where kids can play non-violent games, be part of a community that they love and in a safe place - the movie theater.
Super League Gaming recently announced a $15M Series C funding round from a superstar team including Nickelodeon, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, aXiomatic, "multiple other pro sports team owners" and DMG Entertainment.
The last one is even more interesting because DMG Entertainment - a global media and entertainment production/distribution company - is launching, wait for it, an eSports division. DMG is more than likely using their extensive knowledge and experience in China to help bring Super League Gaming to that massive market as well.
Back to Super League Gaming - Why does the combination of eSports and movie theaters make so much sense?
- Real estate ROI
- Multiple locations
- Community based experience
To hear more about Super League Gaming, here's TNL eSports Guest Podcast 002 with their SVP, Andy Babb, earlier this year:
Last Fall, Super League Gaming announced a partnership with Riot Games to bring League of Legends across the US and currently fields 13 teams.
There hasn't been much news on how the league is performing - and I've heard directly from theater owners of lack of attendance in certain cities . I'd speculate that this roll out and it's potential in Asia is what drove the investment and high valuation and will be interesting to see if a city-based league of this nature is ready; but I'd like to wait for more real data.
I do want to focus on what they started with and what I could be a huge opportunity: Minecraft.
The easiest way to understand the phenomenon that is Minecraft is not to spend $2,000 on a research report - go spend an hour at an elementary school.
There are 383 results on Amazon for "minecraft birthday party supplies". I've been to more kid's Minecraft birthday parties than BBQ's in Brooklyn.
Microsoft worked with Code.org to help make a Minecraft version to "train" kids to code using the game - I highly recommend it.
Now combine this with Microsoft's acquisition of streaming platform Beam and you can see it's continued future investment in Minecraft is just beginning.
And how's Minecraft just as a game performing?
Microsoft doesn't break out Minecraft revenues separately but here's how the $7 app has ranked on Paid Apps on iTunes.
Don't believe me. Get your iPhone right now. Go to the App Store. I 99.9% guarantee you Minecraft is the #1 paid app.
Congrats to the team at Super League Gaming and I'll end with a quote I say in every conversation I have about the company:
Where else are you going to find a babysitter for 3 hours for $20?