Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = Opportunity


Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Benjamin Faust)

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Benjamin Faust)

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Twitter)

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Twitter)

There's definitely a huge opportunity in taking on Ticketmaster alone, which generated $1.6B in revenue in 2016 per BTIG's estimates.

But let's look at how Amazon can turn this into an eSports opportunity.



The Ticket Fairy's Investor List (Photo: Crunchbase)

The Ticket Fairy's Investor List (Photo: Crunchbase)

There are plenty of ticketing startups that Amazon could look at. After I sent that tweet, a former MLG colleague of mine alerted me to the The Ticket Fairy.

Just Twitch COO Kevin Lin, Justin Kan and Emmett shear - the co-founders of Twitch - and Y Combinator, which invested in Twitch and gave the incubator a massive return.

This isn't a guarantee that Amazon/Twitch will choose The Ticket Fairy but the investor list overlap is pretty amazing.



TwitchCon 2016 (Photo: Twitch)

TwitchCon 2016 (Photo: Twitch)


TwitchCon is the easy first option, the massive event that Twitch has held for the past few years celebrating their influencers, fans and platform.



Amazon's Twitch Prime Move Is Genius (Photo: Twitch)

Amazon's Twitch Prime Move Is Genius (Photo: Twitch)

Now let's go deeper and what I consider one of the most brilliant moves that Amazon has done with Twitch:  Twitch Prime

Remember, Twitch Prime is all about driving Amazon Prime memberships overall, as the latter automatically gives you access to the former and increased value to the Prime platform - I don't even want to know how much I've spent using Amazon Prime Now with 2-hour delivery in NYC.



In March, Twitch announced that streamers would get a cut of any game sold through their channel. 

Now imagine this scenario.

Any developer based event that Twitch drives the ticketing platform can be further deeply integrated with both Twitch Prime and Game Sales. 

It can go even deeper than that.

What if you got an Exclusive item via Twitch for attending that event that Amazon just sold you a ticket for?

Overwatch Loot Box Via Twitch Prime (Photo: Twitch)

Overwatch Loot Box Via Twitch Prime (Photo: Twitch)



Matcherino's Events (Photo: Matcherino)

Matcherino's Events (Photo: Matcherino)

Last month, I analyzed Matcherino's $1.5M round and how that platform helps event organizers crowdfund prize pools and help distribute the winnings.

How does Matcherino work?

Matcherino With Twitch Login (Photo: Matcherino)

Matcherino With Twitch Login (Photo: Matcherino)

Oh you just use your Twitch login and connect your PayPal account.

See it now.



Amazon's potential move into ticketing is them disrupting another industry - when will the first Amazon health care facility open?

What's the accretive value to Amazon overall to get into ticketing? Ill let the Wall Street analysts do the math on that one.


But there's a huge play between Amazon, Twitch, eSports and ticketing.

eSports Wars: The Empire (Twitch) Strikes Back - Part 2


eSports Wars: The Empire (Twitch) Strikes Back - Part 2 Photo (Lucasfilm)

TNL Take: In Part 1, I looked at the war that Twitch was facing between YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other players and startups.

Now let's look at how Twitch is fighting back.

Also for the record, "The Empire Strikes Back", is still the best in the entire Star Wars series. Don't @ me.

Twitch has long ruled the gaming live-streaming and eSports space. Although companies like Azubu, Hitbox and MLG (Disclosure: I used to work there) tried to take on Twitch, none of them got close to Twitch’s scale.

With further irony, Azubu acquired Hitbox in January... and then promptly ran out of money.

Amazon bought Twitch for ~$1B back in 2014 and looked like they were going to cement their stranglehold on live-streamed gaming content. However, starting with Activision-Blizzard’s bargain basement acquisition of MLG, things started to ramp up in 2016 with a full court press in 2017.

As I first mentioned in "The eSports Media Evolution" in The Next Level 061 last year, we are starting to see the bifurcation of eSports content across multiple platforms.

eSports Media Evolution (Photo: The Next Level)

For example, here’s what and where you’re going to need to go for Exclusive eSports content now:

  • ESL Counter-Strike Pro League (English) = YouTube
  • Heroes of the Dorm = Facebook
  • ESL TBD Tournaments = Yahoo eSports
  • Rocket League Championship Series = Twitch
  • ESL Weekly eSports Show = Twitter
  • ECS/FACEIT Counter-Strike League = YouTube

Then there are deals like Call of Duty ( + Facebook) or ELEAGUE (Twitch + Twitter), which are shown on multiple platforms.

In addition, multiple startups are tackling the opportunity of turning passive viewing into engagement viewing.

So will Twitch sit back and let others write big checks, take their content and for startups to steal their audience?

Not a chance.

Let me be clear though: Twitch is still the undisputed leader when it comes to audience size and scale. It’s challenging to get viewers off of a platform they’ve used for potentially many years and move to another one without significant feature improvements.

When I’ve analyzed events that are shown on multiple platforms (Twitch + Facebook + YouTube Gaming), Twitch wins by a 10X factor sometimes.

Here’s just one example: While this weekend’s Call of Duty World League had about 40,000 viewers on on Saturday, it had ~400 viewers on Facebook – where MLG has 1.2M likes/followers.

That's a fraction of a fraction of an audience.

Here are multiple ways that Twitch is striking back.



Twitch Video On Demand (Photo: Twitch)

Twitch has primarily been a live-streaming service. But as I pointed out last year, YouTube makes a ton – the majority – of their money off VOD. Twitch finally addressed Video On Demand.

Counter To: YouTube



Amazon Game Studio's "Breakaway" With Lumberyard Technology (Photo: Amazon)

The eSports live-viewing experience has to date been a passive experience. A “lean back” experience similar to TV.

If you look at MLG’s EVE (Enhanced Viewing Experience) with it’s fantastic live stat feature or group polls, it’s more of a “lean forward” experience. A few startups – like Genvid and Proletariat – are looking to take making eSports viewing more engaging.

And so is Twitch.

Along with the Twitch Prime announcement, Amazon made a slew of announcements including Twitch integrated games, Stream+ and an In Game Currency. Here's how they all fit together:

  • Amazon has gone on a Gaming hiring spree with industry veterans John Smedley (Ex-Sony Online Entertainment) to head their San Diego studio and Louis Castle (Ex-Command and Conquer) to run their Seattle based studio and work on another game, Crucible.
  • Stream+ provides viewers the ability to earn coins simply for watching a stream which leads to..
  • Using these coins for purchasing in-game items or "polls and wagering" aka Gambling - my guess is that these coins will be universal across Amazon Games
  • Lumberyard is Amazon's technology that enables integrated Twitch streaming for their upcoming games - that's a no brainer
  • The first game to include all of this is Breakaway which also includes: 1/ A broadcaster feature that notifies players when someone in their game is streaming, 2/ Customizable real-time stats and 3/ Ability for the broadcasters to create a community/social network for their viewers...which leads to the next product

Counter To : A whole lot of companies



Twitch's Social Platform Pulse (Photo: Twitch)

This month, Twitch launched a Twitter competitor called Pulse — an updating feed that collects photos, images, and text from Twitch users. 

FYI: Twitch is not bigger than Twitter but it's a good product.

I don't see Pulse as the biggest threat to Twitch but rather Discord, the extremely popular voice/text group chat startup. More on that later.

Counter To: Twitter (Sort Of), Discord, Facebook



Twitch Launches Cheering Donation/Tip Feature (Photo: Twitch)

If you’re not one of the top Twitch streamers who can rely on Advertising or Sponsorships to monetize, you primarily rely on either Subscriptions or Donations/Tipping.

For a long time, Twitch’s tipping platform was handled by startups like Twitchalerts and Streamtip. With the launch of Twitch Cheering in June, they added another revenue opportunity for their platform – although I disagreed with their 29% revenue cut and thought a Branded Bits feature to sell to Sponsors would work well.



Twitch Clips Highlights Feature (Photo: Twitch)

For years, there were several startups in the space that focused on eSports highlights directly on the Twitch platform: – which raised shockingly $15M from the 49’ers and the Nets Jeremy Lin –, Oddshot, Forge and others.

Twitch Clips now provides the same features.

Counter To: Those guys above



Twitch Prime (Photo: Twitch)

I’m a huge fan of Amazon and Amazon Prime, their Free Shipping and access to Amazon's content via a monthly subscription.

Fun Fact: Amazon’s market cap is ~$400B and ~90% of US purchasing is still done offline. #Runway

Last October, Twitch launched Twitch Prime, which is the smartest move that Amazon had done to date.

Anyone who is a member of Amazon Prime automatically gets access to Twitch Prime. The features include:

  • Free Games
  • Exclusive In-Game Items
  • Game Discounts
  • 1 Free Twitch Streamer Subscription per Month
  • Ad Free Experience

Counter To: More accretive to Amazon/Twitch than a counter



Twitch Game and Item Sales (Photo: Twitch)

Twitch Game and Item Sales (Photo: Twitch)

Game publishers finally realized that Twitch was a phenomenal Marketing tool because they had 1) The right audience 2) Showed off the actual product 3) It’s Free and 4) Again, it’s Free.

Amazon is already one of the top game retailers in the world.

Peanut butter, please meet jelly.            

Last week, Amazon announced a Game and Item Sales revenue sharing product with their streamers. If a viewer buys either the game/in game items that a Twitch streamer was playing, the streamer gets a 5% cut.

Maybe that should be a higher revenue share but still a great move.

Counter To: GameStop, Steam, Future features from YouTube/Facebook/Twitter



Twitch Acquires Curse (Photo: Twitch)

Twitch acquired Curse last August and outside of their websites and media team – which recently did the Buffalo Wild Wings BDUBS Bowl on Twitch (Disclosure: Versus Sports EA Madden Athlete is playing in this event) – they also got Curse’s voice technology.

Discord is currently the fan favorite and has raised almost $30M. Now combine this feature with the next one.

Counter To: Discord, Teamspeak



Twitch's Desktop App (Photo: Twitch)

Take everything I've said above and see Twitch integrating into their recently announced desktop app. Voice, chat, in game integration, etc.

While this announcement didn't get the press as the previous features, if Twitch is able to build a one-stop-shop for everything within an app - that could be big.

Dear Twitch and Amazon, thank you for finally working together.

Grab the popcorn - this should be a fun battle to watch.