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500 Startups invests in Singapore-based e-sports startup ESPL

E-sports investments reached USD 4.5 billion in 2018 from just USD 490 million the year before.

e-sports women e-sports women. Source: Tuchong

Esports Players League (ESPL), an e-sports tournament network and platform, announced it has secured an undisclosed amount of seed investment from 500 Startups.

Founded in 2019, Singapore-headquartered ESPL creates mobile ecosystems for amateur e-sports leagues globally. It uses a franchise model, which allows e-sports players to participate in global tournaments. Aside from mobile e-sports, it also features PC and console-based video games on its content network.

The company will use the fresh capital to roll out ESPL-branded tournaments and platforms to ten countries in its first year of operation. During the roll-out’s initial phase, it aims to set a global footprint across 16 countries in Asia, Europe, and the US.

According to ESPL, it will collaborate with one tournament partner in each country, operating under a hybrid model of on-ground and online tournaments.

The first ESPL season is set to run from April to November 2020, according to the company. It will also announce additional key international partnerships soon.

ESPL has so far sealed partnerships in Southeast Asia and Latin America, according to the statement. It has entered its first media partnership with eGG Network, an e-sports TV network with a presence in Southeast Asia and Australia with about 100 million TV viewers.

“E-sports is poised to surpass traditional sports. Research suggests that the global e-sports audience is expected to reach 645 million in 2020, surpassing baseball, rugby, and American football,” said Khailee Ng, managing partner at 500 Startups.

The number of investments in the e-sports industry doubled to 68 in 2018 from 34 in 2017, according to Deloitte. With an 837% year-over-year growth rate, investments reached USD 4.5 billion in 2018 from just USD 490 million the year before.

This article first appeared in Tech in Asia