Infographic compares esports organizations with traditional sports teams

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There’s a lot of money to be made at the elite levels of the esports world. No esports organization, however, comes close to the value of teams the Big Four leagues of traditional sports—with a couple of notable exceptions.

A new infographic from Visual Capitalist uses data from Forbes to compare the monetary value of the top 10 esports companies with median franchises in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. As Visual Capitalist’s Omri Wallach writes, “Despite competitive gaming’s rapid growth, there’s still a long way left to go.”

To illustrate that “rapid growth”, Wallach notes that as of 2018, only one esports company was valued at more than US$300 million. By 2020, though, four of the top 10 were worth more than that.

Here’s how the 10 most valuable stack up:

ESPORTS COMPANYGAMES WITH FRANCHISESVALUE (2020)
TSMLeague of Legends (LoL)$410M
Cloud9LoL, Overwatch$350M
Team LiquidLoL$310M
FaZe ClanCall of Duty (CoD)$305M
100 ThievesLoL, CoD$190M
Gen.GLoL, Overwatch, NBA 2K$185M
Enthusiast GamingCoD, Overwatch$180M
G2 EsportsLoL$175M
NRG EsportsCoD, Overwatch$155M
T1LoL$150M

Hockey money

Those numbers are certainly impressive, especially when you consider that a few of them are higher than the valuation of certain pro sports teams. Sorry, hockey fans; esports leader TSM is worth more than five NHL franchises. “In fact,” Wallach writes, “four esports companies were estimated to be more valuable than two NHL franchises, the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes.”

The NHL, of course, is not where the big money lies in pro sports. According to Forbes, the median value of an NHL franchise in 2020 was US$520 million. In contrast, the MLB, NBA, and NFL each had median values of over US$1.6 billion.

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Infographic from Visual Capitalist. Click to view full-size.

In other words, esports teams have a lot of catching up to do before they hit the big leagues—partnerships with big-ticket brands like Cadillac and BMW notwithstanding.

I have done a lot of different things over the course of my life and professional career. I have interviewed Oscar and Grammy winners and written cover stories for glossy newsstand magazines. I have played guitar in a rock band on national TV and run an independent music label for which I wrote all of the PR and marketing materials. In my spare time, I sweated out a novel about a world where raccoons are kings and dragons are real.

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