ESL today announced that it has reached an agreement with the international entertainment group, MTG, to acquire a majority stake in Turtle Entertainment GmbH, the holding company for ESL and its international subsidiaries. ESL, the world’s largest esports company and global esports leader, has innovated the industry in terms of broadcast values, production and event experience for the past 15 years across products such as the Intel Extreme Masters and ESL One, pioneering stadium events in the esports scene and consistently breaking industry records.
“When we founded ESL 15 years ago, our goal was to bring esports to fans all around the world and establish it as a global sport. Today esports enjoys worldwide recognition and now, together with MTG, it is time to bring esports to the next level” said Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL. “We are excited to partner with MTG, who share our enthusiasm for the sport and bring an entrepreneurial commitment to help make this dream come true. MTG’s extensive operational network in over 100 countries, and broadcast sports experience, will help us bring ESL and esports to many more places around the world, while allowing us to continue expanding on strong, strategic local partnerships. The ESL leadership team couldn’t be more excited to accelerate the entire esports industry forward together with MTG for the years to come.”
“At MTG, we love sports and we love sports fans. Our TV channels and platforms are home to the world’s leading sports brands, and are watched by typically young audiences. Esports is fast becoming one of the most watched and passionately followed global sports categories amongst younger audiences, and there are now almost as many gamers in the world as traditional sports fans, and esports is set to become bigger than ice hockey during 2015. However, the average revenue generated per esports enthusiast in 2014 was just over USD 2, compared to USD 56 for traditional sports fans, so this global phenomenon has tremendous potential” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG President and CEO. “This investment is a key milestone in our digital development. We look forward to working with the talented Turtle team to grow the global esports community, and to make this exciting content even more broadly available online and on TV.”
Turtle Entertainment was established in 2000 and has since grown to include the world’s most prestigious esports brands and products, including Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and the ESL ESEA Pro League. ESL’s management team will continue to run the ESL business and have signed long-term employment agreements to maintain expanding the brand globally through strategic international partnerships. Both Managing Directors, Ralf Reichert and Heinrich Zetlmayer, as well as the original founder Jens Hilgers and the inventor of the ESL Play platform Jan-Philipp Reining, will stay on ESL’s management team. The creative efforts for ESL products and white label productions will remain under leadership of Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz and James ‘Kennigit’ Lampkin from ESL’s office in the US and the headquarters in Cologne, Germany, respectively.
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, MTG will acquire the majority of the outstanding shares of Turtle Entertainment for € 78 million.