New York’s Madison Square Garden Company Buys Stake In eSports Clan

New York City’s Madison Square Garden is an iconic sports arena, and now it’s going to be an iconic eSports arena. By acquiring a controlling stake in veteran video game clan Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), the company hopes to take advantage of both CLG’s popularity and its own events acumen to become a marquee eSports venue. The pairing makes sense, given CLG’s big League of Legends win in the North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Finals back in 2015. The show was hosted by Madison Square Garden, and now, a couple of years later, it seems clear – at least to the folks running the stadium – that eSports is not veering off its upward trajectory.

Coupled with the potential elimination of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 1992), eSports has the potential to be the next big thing in the world of wagering, too. Not only does the movement leverage non-legacy modes of audience participation (mostly via in-game live streaming services like Twitch), but it boasted a worldwide viewership of nearly 72 million people in 2013. By 2015, that number ballooned to 226 million people, bringing in an estimated $325 million in revenue. The latest numbers have yet to be released, but with the Madison Square Garden Company’s unorthodox investment, it’s a safe bet that the numbers are even better.

Whether or not eSports turns out to be a huge boon to bettors the world over, there’s no denying its international popularity. Australia is preparing to launch an eSports reality show call “The Next Gamer,” and southeast Asia is putting out a Big Brother-style eSports program called “Game to Fame.” With Twitch and YouTube tie-ins, expect the gambling community to get in on the action along with everyone else.

Just remember to never bet against the sniper.

(I hate that guy!)

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