Forbes magazine recently published its list of the most valuable Esports companies for 2021. And the list of the biggest names is not a shocker. Well, it will be a shocker if you haven’t been following the recent eSports scene. As expected, North America dominates (decimates?) the competition.
The List of the Top eSports Teams Unveiled by Forbes in 2021: Revealed
Among the top 10 teams playing in the NBA, NFL, or MLB, seven belong to this region. On the other hand, two of the teams belong to Europe. And for the first time, an Asian eSports Team TI based in South Korea made it to the top 10 list.
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Team SoloMid tops the coveted list as the best eSports team in 2021. It is worth $410 million. This Los Angeles-based eSports company is now priced higher than several professional sports teams. Last year’s winner Cloud9 came in second place with a valuation of $350 million, followed by Team Liquid with a net worth of $310 million. Both of these companies saw a significant drop in their income this year due to the cancellation of tournaments, which is their major source of income. Faze Clan came in at fourth due to a 27% increase in their income. And we fully expect it to hit one of the top 3 positions come next year.
TI is the only Asian team to make it to the list. It came in at the 10th spot. This South Korean team is operated by the T1 Entertainment & Sports eSports. It is a joint venture of two telecom operators in the country, Comcast Spectacor Company, and Korea SK Telecom. These three times League of Legends World Championship winners recently collaborated with the popular South Korean boy band BTS.
The list of the most valuable and top eSports Teams 2021 has emerged as many worldwide regions are still grappling with the pandemic. Covid19 has had a direct impact on all the events – especially sports and eSports teams. Players are struggling to maintain performance.
Many players lost their place in the team and were forced to find part-time jobs in boosting services. For example, in the Overwatch game, such services are called “Overwatch rank boosting“, they help players get a higher rating and play with pro players on the same team.
Even then, the eSports tournaments are being held both offline and online. The world’s biggest eSports event, the League of Legends World Championship, was held in the same period under strict scrutiny in China. All the participating teams were asked to undergo a quarantine period of 2 weeks after landing in China. So, gaming organizations and their billionaire owners are thriving. According to Forbes, the average value of the world’s top teams has now jumped 9.9% to $3.4 Billion.
Below is a breakdown of the top ten most valuable eSports Companies in 2021, according to Forbes. We have also listed some valuable stats against each team for your information.
- Total Value: $410 million
- Owner: Andy Dinh
- Year – Year Change: 3%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $45 million
- eSports Revenue: 50%
- Franchise Teams: LCS – TSM
- Non-Franchise Teams: PUBG Mobile, Magic the Gathering, PUBG, Team Fight Tactics, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, Rainbow 6, Icon Influencers, Super Smash Bros
Team SoloMid or TSM tops the list of the best eSports teams in the world. It is a professional esports organization in the United States. Founded in September 2009 by Andy Dinh, TSM fields players in over a dozen eSports. These include video games like League of Legends, Super Smash Bros, PUBG Mobile, DOTA 2, Battlegrounds Mobile India, Magic: The Gathering Arena, Chess, Apex Legends, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, to name a few. In terms of accolades, TSM’s League of Legends team has won seven of the sixteen splits of North America’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).
- Value: $350 million
- Owner: Jack and Paullie Etienne
- Year – Year Change: -13%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $30 million
- Esports Revenue: 70%
- Franchise Teams: LCS – Cloud9, OWL – London Spitfire
- Non-Franchise Teams: Teamfight Tactics, CS: GO, Fortnite, Halo, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros, Valorant, World of Warcraft, Rainbow 6
Cloud9 or c9 is another US-based professional esports company. It came into being in 2013 when Jack and Paullie Etienne bought the Quantic Gaming’s League of Legends roster. It has so far raised approximately USD 78 million via venture capital funding. Throughout its existence, c9 has held divisions in multiple esports, like League of Legends and Overwatch, etc. It also operates non-franchised teams in video games like Counter Strike, Global Offensive, Halo, Super Smash Bros, Fortnite, Velorant, World of Warcraft, Apex Legends, etc. Cloud9 has won three international championships: ELeague Major: Boston 2018, Overwatch League 2018, and Rocket League Season 6.
- Total Value: $310 million
- Owner: aXiomatic Gaming, Victor Goossens, Steve Arhancet
- Year – Year Change: -3%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $28 million
- Esports Revenue: 89%
- Franchise Teams: LCS – Team Liquid
- Non-Franchise Teams: Rainbow 6, CS: GO, Dota 2, Valorant, Fortnite, Hearthstone, PUBG, Super Smash Bros, StarCraft II
Unlike the top two teams, Team Liquid is a multi-regional professional organization. It is based in the Netherlands and was founded in 2000. Their first professional players were signed with the release of Starcraft ii: Wings of Liberty. Then in 2012, Team Liquid acquired DOTA 2 team from North America, making their first venture into multi-genre gaming. Afterward, in 2015 Team Liquid got another merger with Team Curse, bringing on their teams from Super Smash Bros, League of Legends, and Street Fighter. Its League of Legends team has won 4 LCS championships so far. Also, its CS: GO team won the Intel Grand Slam prize in 2019 – quite a feat for a team that participated in just 4 tournaments.
- Total Value: $305 million
- Owner: Yousef Abdelfattah (FaZe Apex), Lee Trink, Thomas Oliveira (FaZe Temperrr), Nordan Shat (FaZe Rain) and Richard Bengston (FaZe Banks),
- Year – Year Change: 27%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $40 million
- Esports Revenue: 20%
- Franchise Teams: CDL – Atlanta FaZe
- Non-Franchise Teams: CS: GO, FIFA, Fortnite, PUBG, Rainbow 6, Valorant
Previously known as FaZe Sniping, FaZe Clan is another professional esports organization based in Los Angeles, United States. The company employs gamers from all over the world in top esports like CS: GO, PUBG, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, FIFA, Call of Duty, etc. Last year, the company expanded into Asian Markets by acquiring Thai FIFA Online and PUBG Mobile teams. Faze Clan is also known for its charity work. In March 2020, they unveiled the Fight 2 Fund, raising money to help charities work to lessen the impact of COVID 19. They successfully raised over USD 124K.
- Total Value: $190 million
- Owner: Matthew Haag, Scooter Braun, Dan Gilbert, Drake,
- Year – Year Change: 19%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $16 million
- Esports Revenue: 35%
- Franchise Teams: LCS – 100 Thieves, CDL – Los Angeles Thieves
- Non-Franchise Teams: Fortnite, Valorant
Hundred Thieves is also based in Los Angeles, California. It’s a lifestyle brand and video gaming organization that competes in multiple eSports such as COD, Fortnite, League of Legends, and Valorant. Currently, they have two franchise teams for the Call of Duty league and League of Legends Championship series. It was founded in 2017 by Mathew Haag, the 2014 Esports athlete of the year. This year, the company got nominated for the Streamer Awards in the Best Content Organization category. 100 Thieves is also affiliated with the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Total Value: $185 million
- Owner: Kevin Chou, Will Smith, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, NEA,
- Year – Year Change: 0%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $14 million
- eSports Revenue: 75%
- Franchise Teams: OWL – Seoul Dynasty, LCK – Gen.G, NBA 2K League -Shanghai,
- Non-Franchise Teams: PUBG, Fortnite (Team Bumble), Overwatch Contenders, Valorant
Generation Gaming or Gen.G was previously called KSV Esports. It’s the first Asian team on this list of competitive gaming, with bases in Santa Monica, Shanghai, and Seoul. It was formed in 2017 by Kent Wakeford and Kevin Chou, the founders of Kabam. The company started out by acquiring the Overwatch league franchise for $20 million in South Korea. GenG currently participates in League of Legends, NBA 2K, Overwatch, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Valorant. It has won three championships so far, including League of Legends (two awards), Heroes of the Storm (three awards), and PUBG: Battlegrounds (two awards).
- Total Value: $180 million
- Owner: Public company (TSX: EGLX)
- Year – Year Change: NR
- Total Revenue Estimation: $95 million
- eSports Revenue: 6%
- Franchise Teams: OWL – Vancouver Titans, CDL – Seattle Surge,
- Non-Franchise Teams: Madden, Apex, Fortnite, Valorant
Enthusiast Gaming is a Canadian digital media organization. It specializes in video game journalism. Menashe Kestenbaum founded the company in 2014, and it owns multiple websites, most notably Daily Esports, Escapist Magazine, The Sims Resource, and Destructoid. As of 2022, the company owns approximately 20 different digital media and esports websites. In October 2018, the company went public on the TSX Venture Exchange. It then moved the listing to the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2020. Next year, the company also began trading on the Nasdaq. Enthusiast Gaming hosts Canada’s largest video game convention, Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo every year.
- Total Value: $175 million
- Owner: Carlos Rodriguez, Jens Hilgers
- Year – Year Change: 6%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $19 million
- Esports Revenue: 80%
- Franchise Teams: League of Legends European Championship – G2
- Non-Franchise Teams: Fortnite, Hearthstone, Rocket League, CS: GO, Sim Racing Valorant, Rainbow 6
Formerly known as Gamers2, the G2 Sports is a European esports company founded in 2014. It has a headquarter in Berlin, Germany, with players competing in different esports like CS: GO, League of Legends, Rocket League, iRacing, Hearthstone, and Rainbow Six Siege. The organization rebranded as G2 sports in 2015. G2’s League of Legends team is an active player in the League of Legends European Championship, which is the biggest League of Legends tournament. So far, it has won nine domestic titles in Europe. It has also won several regional tournaments like the European Pro League season 8, DreamHack Winter 2018, Six Major 2018, and Six Invitational 2019.
- Total Value: $155 million
- Owner: Andy Miller, Mark Mastrov
- Year – Year Change: 3%
- Total Revenue Estimation: $20 million
- Esports Revenue: 25%
- Franchise Teams: CDL – OpTic Chicago, OWL – San Francisco Shock
- Non-Franchise Teams: Apex Legends, Rocket League, Valorant, Fortnite
Like most esports teams on this list, NRG Esports is a Los Angeles-based company. It has rosters in popular video games like Valorant, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Apex Legends, Clash Royale, etc. The team was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov in 2015. Then in 2017, it acquired Canadian esports company Northern Gaming, making Soapoppin, a famous twitch streamer, a co-owner. NRG has also partnered with Shots Studios, a US content production, and management company for merchandising content production, and social strategy.
- Total Value: $150 million
- Owner: Comcast Spectacor, SK Telecom
- Year – Year Change: NR
- Total Revenue Estimation: $15 million
- Esports Revenue: 60%
- Franchise Teams: League of Legends Champions Korea – T1
- Non-Franchise Teams: PUBG, Hearthstone, Apex Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Overwatch Contenders
Formerly known as SKT Ti or SK Telecom T1 is a South Korea-based esports team. It’s a joint venture between SK Telecom and Comcast Spectacor. Back in 2013, SK Telecom acquired Starcraft Team Orion and set up Team T1 under the conglomerate’s banner. Team T1 has since won the League of Legends World Championship in 2013, 2015, and 2016, making it the top Asian eSports team today. It has rosters in popular video games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Wild Rif, and Super Smash Bros: Ultimate.
Forbes Magazine releases the list of the most valuable eSports Companies every year. And it is considered the most authentic resource. The valuation is based on a company’s equity and net debt during the past 6 months. It calculates this information using revenue and operating income, adjusted for any revenue sharing with other organizations, etc. It includes the value of a team’s arena deals but excludes the real estate value. Forbes uses the information from public and private sources, including media, published documents, sports bankers, lease agreements, and more.
With the professional eSports scene growing each year exponentially, all the teams are bringing in more cash than ever. Though some teams did take a slump this year due to the pandemic, the situation is expected to get back on track this year. What do you think the list will look like next year? Is there any chance for more European Teams to make it to the list? Let us know in the usual comment section.
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