Brooklyn Nets owner and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Joe Tsai has just invested in G2 Esports.
Tsai invested $10 million into the esports franchise, valuing G2 at $100 million. The organization is hoping to expand its presence in Asia thanks to this investment. According to the South China Morning Post, there are more gamers in China than there are people in the United States, making it a lucrative market that many western teams have yet to utilize fully.
“The biggest challenge for Western teams is to properly play to Chinese culture, to understand the true thinking and mentality of the Chinese audience. That’s something that we will pay a lot of attention to, but with the support of a Chinese owner in our group, hopefully it goes a bit easier,” Jens Hilgers, co-founder and chairman of G2, said.
A report by Bloomberg on the investment stated that Tsai has a net worth of $11.9 billion. Born in Taiwan, the billionaire was the NBA’s “most vocal defender of mainland China’s position.” He had even writen an open letter to NBA fans explaining why Houston Rocket’s general manager’s tweet in support for Hong Kong was offensive.
With Tsai on board, G2 could have an easier time entering the Chinese market. They’ve already hired Mandarin speakers, writers, and videographers in anticipation of the move.
“We want to be, from a talent perspective, a Western team. But we want to build fans so that when it comes to international competition, these fans can look to G2 Esports and say, ‘I’ve heard about these guys, I follow these guys, and that’s my favorite team when I don’t see my home favorite,'” Hilgers told Bloomberg.
Not much else has been revealed about G2’s future plans, but the organization will be opening a New York City office in early 2020. This will allow the organization to have more connections to “the country’s largest media market,” while also being located in the same city as the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, which could lead to future collaborations.
Hilgers told Forbes that the NYC location will also “increase the company’s talent pool” as well as their “commercial activities” with other US-based brands and companies.
“New York is an underleveraged and under-represented market in esports, which is odd because it in particular is where so many impactful subcultures have been born in the U.S.,” Hilgers said, adding that this is an opportunity for G2 to “capitalize” on appealing to the east coast of the United States in particular.