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Would you buy shares in an eSports team? You soon can

A Danish eSports team is set to hold the industry's first ever IPO, potentially setting a precedent for other teams to follow suit.

The IPO is set to be held on December 9th Astralis plans to raise 125 to 150 million kroner ($18-22 million), with shares priced at 8.95 kroner ($1.32) “We believe that the foundation of some of the most valuable and iconic brands in 10 years’ time is being set today" - Astralis CEO Nikolaj Nyholm

You thought it was unusual when blockchain-based businesses started holding their own IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings) to raise funding? Then you clearly have not heard of the Danish eSports team that wants to go public. 

You heard that correctly. 

From eSports team to eSports brand

Danish team Astralis, which is the world’s number one ranked team in popular first-person shooter classic Counter Strike: Global Offensive, has plans to sell team shares to investors through an Initial Public Offering (IPO). 

As Reuters explains, “Esports is a form of competitive video gaming with multiple players battling against each other usually in teams, often in matches that are streamed live to throngs of young fans.”

If Astralis’ plans go through, it will become the first eSports team to go public in a rapidly growing industry that has doubled in size since 2016, Bloomberg reported

Astralis’ success has earned it millions of dollars in tournament prizes over the years, as well commercial endorsements with brands such as Audi and Logitech. Not settling for being labeled as an eSports team alone, it is now operating as a media company, This company is known as Astralis Group, which has expanded with teams competing in massively popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)  League of Legends and EA’s football game FIFA.

Bloomberg further notes that the listing is due to take place on Dec. 9 on Nasdaq’s Copenhagen exchange for small companies.

“According to its prospectus, Astralis plans to raise 125 to 150 million kroner ($18-22 million), with shares priced at 8.95 kroner,” the news site explained. 

In an email interview with Bloomberg, Astralis Group CEO Nikolaj Nyholm said: “We believe that the foundation of some of the most valuable and iconic brands in 10 years’ time is being set today,”

Nyholm says he’s confident that the IPO will succeed and cites pre-commitments worth around $8 million “from a range of European and Asian investors.” The subscription period ran out last month. 

This level of pre-commitments is to be expected, as this is the first IPO of its kind, and one that could set the mold for future eSports IPOs. Astralis is certainly ahead of the curve in that regard, and its success could herald a wave of change in the way people invest in this industry. 

eSports holds great opportunity for businesseSports as an avenue for business isn’t spoken about often. This is surprising, as it has been many many years since gaming shed its unfounded and ill repute of being reserved solely for recluses and society outliers. Ever since gaming entered the mainstream with the turn of the century, it has offered an unmissable opportunity for investment in all sorts of venues – eSports is just one of its latest,

After all, eSports is set to be a $1.1 billion business by the end of 2019, according to data from Newzoo, a gaming industry analytics firm. This figure is up 27% since last year following ballooning revenues from advertising, sponsorship and media rights to competitive video gaming, Reuters notes. 

By 2022, total global esports revenues could be $1.8 billion, Newzoo found. 

Astralis are certainly onto something here. Note that the most valuable eSports team, Cloud9, is valued at $400 milllion, as per Forbes. If Cloud9 were to similarly hold an IPO, we could see massive figures thrown around, with a larger, more diverse pool of investors. Astralis’ IPO could be the beginning of something entirely new for eSports.