Azubu, the California-based global broadcasting network, has successfully raised $59 million of new capital for its live streaming business focused on eSports.
The company is creating a global network where professional and other players can stream their gameplay for their fans. The platform also covers major eSports events from big names in competitive games, such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter Strike: GO, and others.
“The money will go to innovation around the platform, so we can provide the best user experience for broadcasters,” said Ian Sharpe, chief executive of Azubu, in an interview.
“We want people to make a living at something they are hugely passionate about. This is an example of a rising tide lifts all boats. It’s a vote of confidence not just in Azubu, but in all of eSports.”
Company sees massive global market for eSports
Considered one of the main competitors of Twitch, Azubu has audiences all over the globe, including the eSports homeland of South Korea.
Additionally, exclusive partnerships with major gaming organizations like the Korean eSports Association (KeSPA), the Brazilian paiN Gaming, and SKT T1 have helped grow viewership in these regions by more than 1,200 percent in the last year. According to a statement from the company’s representative, the site had 9 million unique visitors in October.
“We are expanding operations in a number of new regions around the world and creating bigger and more content partnerships and corporate relationships, which we’re looking forward to announcing in the near future,” said Jason Katz, chief operating officer of Azubu, in a statement.
“This latest round of financing will support our global growth and expansion into 2016 and beyond.”
The company was recently awarded with exclusive broadcasting rights to the largest Brazilian eSports league called UoL BoaCompra’s XLG League.
“You’ll see a lot more come from us in 2016,” Sharpe said. “Our global presence has been our strength.”
“Azubu has built a best-in-class streaming platform which prioritizes premium eSports content,” said Edwin Eichler, CEO of Sapinda Group, in a statement. “This new round of funding underscores our commitment to Azubu as it continues to build the world’s most advanced broadcast network for the fastest-growing phenomenon on the planet — eSports.”
eSports viewership is getting bigger and bigger
The recently-finished League of Legends World Championships saw an all-time high of 360 million hours of live eSports viewed, nearly doubling from 2014.
Over the course of 73 games, the event had an average concurrent viewership of over 4.2 million. 36 million unique viewers tuned in for the tournament’s final match between SK Telekom T1 and Koo Tigers, making it the most-watched eSports event of all time.