MTG Buys Majority Stake in World’s Largest e-sports Company


STOCKHOLM: Modern Times Group (MTG) has entered into an agreement to purchase 74 percent of Turtle Entertainment, which operates under the ESL brand, for 78 million euros ($86.6 million) in cash.

ESL’s online leagues and tournaments, including ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters, are among the biggest in the world, and have attracted more than 70 million unique online viewers over the past 12 months. Revenues for the ESL brand are growing at 50 percent per year.

MTG is already present in the e-sports market with its platform and has broadcast coverage of e-sports on its TV channels.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG's president and CEO, commented: “At MTG, we love sports and we love sports fans. Our TV channels and platforms are home to the world’s leading sports brands, and are watched by typically young audiences. E-sports is fast becoming one of the most watched and passionately followed global sports categories amongst younger audiences. There are now almost as many gamers in the world as traditional sports fans, and e-sports was almost as big as ice hockey in 2014 in terms of number of enthusiasts. However, the average revenue generated per e-sports enthusiast in 2014 was just over USD 2, compared to USD 56 for traditional sports fans, so this global phenomenon has tremendous potential.

“This investment is a key milestone in our digital development. We look forward to working with the talented Turtle team to grow the global e-sports community, and to make this exciting content even more broadly available online and on TV.”

Ralf Reichert, the managing director of Turtle Entertainment, added: “When we founded ESL 15 years ago, our goal was to bring e-sports to fans all around the world and establish it as a global sport. Today, e-sports enjoys worldwide recognition and now, together with MTG, it is time to take e-sports to the next level.

“We are excited to partner with MTG, who share our enthusiasm for the sport and bring an entrepreneurial commitment to help make this dream come true. MTG’s extensive operational network in over 100 countries and broadcast sports experience will help us bring ESL and e-sports to many more places around the world, while allowing us to continue expanding on strong, strategic local partnerships. The ESL leadership team could not be more excited about accelerating the development of the entire e-sports industry together with MTG for years to come.”