Popdog Merger Creates Esports Services Powerhouse
Three prominent esports-related organizations, including the management team behind Fortnite streaming-video star Ninja, today announced Popdog, a merged digital-services company specializing in esports and game-focused online streaming, backed by $9 million in venture capital.
The merger brings together Loaded, the Columbus, Ohio-based esports management firm whose other high-profile gaming clients include LIRIK and Shroud; the esports division of brand advisor Catalyst Sports & Media; and NoScope, an analytics platform focused on Twitch’s live-streaming data. The merged company also announced $9 million in Series A funding to finance investments in tech, services and product development.
The Popdog rollup is another sign of the maturation of esports, a long-gestating business that’s beginning to break into broader popular culture. Analyst NewZoo estimates the esports business worldwide will generate about $1.7 billion in 2018, a tiny but growing share of the $137 billion game industry. As esports grows, support services in marketing, management, brand relations and analytics will become increasingly important.
“The industry needs a backend, and our mission is to be that backend by supporting the ecosystem as a whole with a comprehensive offering of technology and services,” said Popdog founder and CEO Alexander Garfield, a prominent esports executive and former esports champion who in 2014 sold Goodgame and a pair of successful esports teams to Amazon-owned Twitch.
Other Popdog executives include CTO and Chief Product Officer Andreas Thorstensson, Chief Strategy Officer Niles Heron; and Chief Creative Officer Colin DeShong, who was Alexander’s former partner at GoodGame…