Two co-founders of Major League Gaming (MLG) have launched what they say is a “first-of-its kind” esports infrastructure company called Vindex. The new company has acquired production and events studio Next Generation Esports (NGE) and plans to launch Esports Engine for event organization, live broadcasts, and tournament design and management.
Led by MLG co-founders
Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni are co-founders of esports events company MLG which was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2015. MLG’s roster includes League of Legends for PC, and Mortal Kombat on Playstation 3. They join Bryan Binder and Jason Garmise, in founding Vindex which launches with $60 million worth of Series A funding to build its “global esports infrastructure platform.”
Both NGE and Esports Engine, founded in Columbus, Ohio and Burbank, California respectively, will retain their current senior management who will also join the Vindex leadership team. Vindex says it plans to continue building both company’s existing partnerships and that the “combination of the two” establishes a “market leader.” In its announcement the new company says:
“Vindex is immediately the largest pure-play esports infrastructure platform — profitable and well-capitalized for growth. The company will leverage the expertise of its more than 100 employees, proprietary broadcast technology and competition management software to equip partners with the industry-leading services and technology needed to scale to an increasingly mainstream global audience.”
Meeting the demand of an industry with 35% year-on-year revenue growth
Vindex hopes to “drive” a fast-growing esports industry “to its full potential” and headlines its press release with “esports is ready for primetime.” Goldman Sachs says the esports industry is growing revenues at a pace of 35% each year. Deloitte confirms the expect 35% market expansion in 2019 and says this esports growth is driven by “advertising, broadcast licensing, and franchise sales.”
Deloitte says part of this growth is due to the introduction of the first North American franchise game leagues in 2018, such as Overwatch, NBA2K, and League of Legends, and then rapid franchise league expansion. It also points to the appeal of esports which is attracting younger generations, not just as players but as viewers and fans just as traditional sports has attracted non-playing viewership for decades.
Today, to meet esports demand, its not just game owners and developers who are consolidating and investing. Live event, tournament management, broadcasting, and production is a significant part of the industry as esports events are brought to the mainstream, and the big screen. Vindex CEO and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso says:
“Esports has been a vibrant growth story for nearly two decades.”
He confirms esports is also fuelling “growth and engagement” for the wider games industry and says Vindex will make gaming and esports experiences “deeply engaging and rewarding for fans.”
As per Esports Insider, the Vindex management board also includes ESPN’s former CEO Steve Bornstein and Gotham Asset Management founder Joel Greenblatt. It reveals that Esports Engine has agreed with Call of Duty league franchise New York Subliners to oversee the team’s home events for its first season beginning January, 2020.
MLG’s success, and $60 million in funding means that expectations for Vindex are high. It’s not the only mover and shaker in the esports industry this past week. New Wave eSports went public. Tencent brought Supercell into its portfolio, and ESL’s Modern Times Group is considering new partnerships and a US IPO.