Top Five Most Valuable Esport Teams

Hundreds of millions of people across the world are now dedicated esports fans
and this nascent industry is teeming with opportunity. A number of big teams have
emerged over the past few years to take it into the mainstream and provide
organization within a pursuit that was once wild west. Many analysts expect
esports to usurp traditional sports in popularity in the years ahead and that means
the big franchises could eclipse the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid and
the New York Yankees. Here are the top five most valuable teams within the
competitive gaming sector right now:

1. Cloud9

Back in October 2018, Forbes ascribed a value of $310 million to Cloud9, which
had recently completed a $50 million funding round to boost future growth.
Respected esports lawyer Bryce Blum chipped in to say that the valuation could
actually be higher, and since then Cloud9 has kicked on even further. The North
American organization recently landed its first Brazilian squad and it will compete
in battle royale title Apex Legends, which is currently soaring in popularity. It has
more than a dozen teams and it also competes in League of Legends, Overwatch,
Fortnite, CS: GO, Rainbow Six Siege and Clash Royale. It is interesting to note that
Cloud9 is only 13 thin the chart of teams with the highest overall earnings. But it
has the largest infrastructure of any team in the world of competitive gaming, with
around 100 players spread across its various different teams. It is using some of the
$50 million it raised to construct a training facility in LA, which will open later
this year and the sky is the limit for this impressive franchise.

2. Team SoloMid

Former League of Legends player Andy Dinh set up this American team in 2009
and it has gone on to become the second most valuable collective in the world of
competitive gaming. It is the only franchise to record a positive cash flow thanks to
sponsorship deals, ticket sales, merchandise and media rights. It has made just $3
million in prize money from tournaments, but at least another $25 million from
other commercial activities. It signed a lucrative deal with Dr Pepper last year, on
top of many more advertising tie-ins with the likes of Gilette, Geico, Red Bull and
T-Mobile. “We are thrilled to be partnering within esports in a way that allows Dr
Pepper to engage across multiple platforms with the gaming community,” said
Blaise D’Sylva, vice president of media and entertainment at the soft drinks firm.
“From playing games alone, with friends, watching streams or championship
spectating, Dr Pepper wants to share in the fun of gaming.” SoloMid wants to earn
plenty of money and fund competitive gaming, so it is a great match.

3. Team Liquid

Team Liquid is the most successful franchise of all time in terms of prize money
thanks to the success its Dota 2 team has enjoyed. KuroKy, MidD_ContRoL,
Matumbaman, GH and Miracle- romped to victory at The International 2017,
which carried an eye-watering prize purse of $24.7 million. They then finished
fourth at The International 2018, the richest esports tournament in history, and
KuroKy remains the highest earning esports player ever.
Team Liquid also competes in League of Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, Hearthstone,
Rainbow Six Siege, Classh Royale and PUBG and it has more teams than any
other franchise. It has earned a record $25.7 million in prize money, leaving it
ahead of Evil Geniuses and Team OG in the prize money stakes, and anyone
interested in betting on esports will see Team Liquid among the favourites for a
number of tournaments. Despite their successes in big competitions, they have not
been quite as busy as Cloud9 and Team SoloMid on the commercial front, but this
team has great potential.

4. Echo Fox

Echo Fox is one of the world’s preeminent esports franchises, famed for
developing some of the finest talent in a number of different games. Retired NBA
star Rick Fox founded it as recent as 2015, but it has already made a huge splash in
the esports sector, launching teams in League of Legends, Call of Duty, CS:GO,
Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Gears of War 4, Marvel vs. Capcom 3,
Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Injustice 2, H1Z1 and
Vainglory. It began life when Fox purchased the League of Legends Championship
Series spot of Gravity Gaming for $1 million and its value has since skyrocketed.
However, the team has just been rocked by the news that Fox is leaving the
organization after alleging that another shareholder directed racial slurs at him
during an email exchange. Team member Dominique McLean Tweeted:

5. OpTic Gaming

Ryan Musselman founded OpTic Gaming in 2006, and it is now owned by Texas
Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman and Hector Rodriguez. Owners of traditional
sports teams are piling into esports as they represent how significant its future
potential is, and Leibman is well ahead of the curve after purchasing such a well-
established team. OpTic Gaming competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Call
of Duty, CS:GO, Halo, Gears of War, Fortnite and PUBG. Mountain Dew, Nissan
and Turtle Beach Corp are among the big names to sponsor the team and it is
worth more than $100 million. It is also based in the U.S., as all the most valuable
esports teams are, but it has teams playing around the world.

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