IMG today announced it has signed eSports organizations Cloud9, Dignitas and SK Gaming for global representation, focusing on marketing and endorsement opportunities. This announcement marks the first time a major agency has signed eSports organizations of this scale.
Named the Most Valuable eSports Team at the SXSW Gaming Awards, Cloud9 is sponsored by brands including Kingston HyperX, HTC and Intel. Founded in December 2012, Cloud9 fields teams in League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Super Smash Brothers, Heroes of the Storm, SMITE, and Halo.
SK Gaming, one of the oldest and most storied organizations in eSports, was founded in 1997 and has offices in Germany and Sweden. Based in the UK and founded in 2003, Team Dignitas has won numerous tournaments in several games and genres, including multiple world championships. Both organizations compete across League of Legends, Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, among others.
Earlier this year, IMG acquired Global eSports Management, an international full-service eSports talent agency that manages clients across the professional gaming industry, to grow and develop its expertise in the space. The eSports industry has gained global popularity in recent years, with its largest event, the League of Legends World Championship drawing 27M viewers in 2014. eSports revenue is set to pass $500M in 2015.