Film and television production company Lionsgate has invested an undisclosed amount into Immortals, an eSports organization with teams competing in League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Super Smash Bros.
Immortals is a fairly new North American eSports organization, created in October 2015 with a focus on League of Legends. For its premiere 2016 season, Immortals hired on a handful of high-profile professional League players and enjoyed an explosive debut, winning 33 of 36 games in the regular season. However, Immortals didn’t qualify for the World Championship and only one player has stayed with the team for the 2017 season.
“Our involvement in eSports creates tremendous opportunities to develop new content and utilize our suite of distribution platforms for a coveted consumer demographic with compelling engagement metrics,” Lionsgate president of interactive ventures and games Peter Levin says in a press release. “Collaborating with an elite group of partners, the combination of the Lionsgate and Immortals brands will be formidable.”
This isn’t Lionsgate’s first foray into the rich new world of professional gaming. In May, Lionsgate announced it was partnering with the Electronic Sports League and Pilgrim Media on an eSports television show — turns out, that will be a reality program all about the competitive side of Halo 5.
Throughout 2016, eSports attracted more than 200 million viewers and that audience is expected to surpass 300 million by 2019, according to Superdata Research. The industry is on track to generate more than $1 billion this year.