The former CEO of Hewlett Packard, Meg Whitman, is buying into esports, announcing today she has invested in esports franchise Immortals. Whitman will also take a seat on the franchise’s board.
Whitman adds to growing list of people and organisations backing esports. Which-50 explored the trend earlier this year revealing many brands were attracted to a growing and highly engaged audience. Immortals partners include Microsoft, Mountain Dew and gaming hardware manufacturer Razer.
“It has been fascinating to watch, both as a sport and as a business,” Whitman wrote in a Linkedin post.
“Since 2014, global esports revenue has more than doubled to over $800 million, and the audience has grown from 200 million global viewers to 400 million.”
Whitman writes that she is even more enamored with the esports audience. She says 80 per cent of the audience is under 35 and 1.6 of esports viewer also creates their own content — twice the normal level for digital content.
“Twitch alone is larger than 75 per cent plus of individual TV networks and will soon deliver more monthly minutes watched than many TV network groups. All at significantly higher engagement rates than traditional forms of content.”
Whitman argues, “we are just at the beginning of esports” and the industry’s continued growth will require the esports ecosystem to evolve to match the gaming community’s enthusiasm.
The former CEO of HP and eBay says she hopes to do that with her latest investment in Immortals.
“The team is focused on building a sustainable and diversified esports business that goes beyond team operations and has ambitions to become the first billion-dollar global esports business,” Whitman writes.
“I am excited to be joining their founder … and the rest of their management team in those efforts and look forward to celebrating our successes.”