Business magazine Forbes has released a list of the 10 most valuable esports organizations in the world. Sitting atop the list is the popular Team SoloMid, more frequently referred to as TSM.
Forbes talked with a number of stakeholders in the esports industry including organizations, investors, and analysts. The end result is a list of the top-10 most valuable esports companies and an estimated value for each.
Who are the most valuable esports organizations?
These are Forbes’ 10 most valuable esports companies, and their estimated values:
- Team SoloMid- $410 million
- Cloud9- $350 million
- Team Liquid- $310 million
- FaZe Clan- $305 million
- 100 Thieves- $190 million
- Gen.G- $185 million
- Enthusiast Gaming- $180 million
- G2 Esports- $175 million
- NRG Esports- $155 million
- T1- $150 million
Falling off the list from 2019’s top 10 are Envy Gaming, Fnatic, and Immortals Gaming Club. Immortals in particular has had a rough 2020, stemming from a variety of factors.
Immortals’ issues have played out in the public to some degree as the team sold its Call of Duty League franchise to 100 Thieves, handed over the OpTic Gaming brand to former owner Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez, and saw its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team nearly dissolve. Those factors combined to see the organization fall from fifth place in 2019, with what was a $210 valuation, to being off the list entirely.
Immortals wasn’t alone in that distinction. Even at the top of the list, organizations such as Team Liquid and Cloud9 saw their estimated values slip while others had their rate of growth plateau after years of explosive rises.
What makes an esports organization valuable?
For a long while, there were a number of different avenues towards having a valuable esports organization. Best practices are becoming better established at this point, as many of the most valuable esports organizations in 2020 combine franchises in prominent leagues with marketable branding.
This is best demonstrated through 100 Thieves, which rose from 10th place in 2019 to fifth in 2020. According to Forbes, 100 Thieves’ estimated value rose 19% year-over-year. This at least partly stemmed from its acquisition of Immortals’ Call of Duty League franchise, which 100 Thieves is positioned to capitalize on. 100 Thieves also has a strong brand that it leverages through equally strong merch sales.
There is room for flexibility, though. FaZe Clan only has partial ownership of a CDL franchise and enjoys mixed results in other esports, but still owns a very popular brand that drives millions of dollars in merch sales.
Meanwhile, Enthusiast Gaming went from being unranked to seventh place with a list-leading $95 million in revenue. While Enthusiast Gaming owns Overwatch League’s Vancouver Titans and CDL’s Seattle Surge, the jump stemmed from its acquisition of Omnia Media, which represents top streamers Michael “shroud” Grzesiek and Imane “Pokimane” Anys, among others.