This week in esports: Blizzard, 100 Thieves, Nick Fry and Vitality

It’s been another frantic week in the world of esports news. There’s been plenty going on as always – and we’re on hand to bring you the biggest stories before the weekend hits.

Amongst the biggest headlines this week include Blizzard’s reveal of Overwatch League expansion plans and the revelation they expect to make a profit on its first year. Additionally, 100 Thieves and Fnatic have both made big appointments – whilst rounding off the weekly news is Team Vitality securing substantial investment as the organisation continues to grow.

Here’s your weekly roundup:


Blizzard eye second season Overwatch League expansion

Blizzard has revealed that it will be looking to expand the Overwatch League later this year with the second season.

A representative from Blizzard confirmed the news to PC Gamer, saying: “We expect to begin selling additional expansion teams in the Overwatch League later this year. We have no further details to share at this time”. 

The quarterly earnings call also revealed that it expects the price of expansion teams to increase on the reported $20 million for initial franchises, and also that it expects the Overwatch League to turn a profit in its first full year of operation. 

The other notable points from the call are that Blizzard is set to focus on expanding the audience and improving the viewer experience. The current season will finish in June and one would assume a second season will get underway and finish before the end of the year.

Currently there’s nine of twelve franchises over in the United States, with only three outside of the US. London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons are the sole representatives from outside of North America so one would assume Blizzard will be targeting further global expansion.

Read the full article here.

100 Thieves welcome John Robinson as COO

100 Thieves, the organisation founded and owned by Matt “Nadeshot” Haag, has brought John Robinson on board as its first President and Chief Operating Officer.

Robinson will report to Nadeshot and serve on 100 Thieves’ board of directors – predominately focusing on growing monetisation capabilities and partnerships for the organisation.

John Robinson and Matthew Haag, 100 Thieves
John Robinson and Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, 100 Thieves

First announced in a tweet, this is just another new development for 100 Thieves. Initially starting as a lifestyle and clothing brand run by Nadeshot, the organisation entered the Call of Duty scene during Black Ops II before exiting on July 7, 2016, following a last place finish in the second season of the Call of Duty World League.

Discussing the new hire, Nadeshot tweeted that he was “thrilled to announce one of the most important pieces we’ve added to 100 Thieves this year. John’s passion for esports paired with his deep business experience makes him the perfect partner for me. We’ll be working side by side to take 100T to new heights.”

More recently, 100 Thieves joined the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) after receiving an investment from Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers, and his venture capital firms. The organisation also joined the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive scene by acquiring the ex-Immortals roster. It then withdrew from the 2018 season on January 31 due to roster and visa complications.

Read the full article here.

Nick Fry joins Fnatic as Head of Commercial Strategy

Nick Fry joins FNATIC

London based Fnatic have made a major appointment this week with the former CEO of the Mercedes AMG Formula One team, Nick Fry, joining the esports org asHead of Commercial Strategy.

Acting as an advisor both commercially and strategically, Fry and his firm Stonehaven Partners will look to continue to grow the esports brand.

Announced on February 5, Fnatic will use Fry’s knowledge and experience in performance management and media rights to boost its footprint in the esports industry, as well as improving its potential for partnerships with other brands.

Fry began his long-forged career in the automotive industry with Ford Motor Companyover 40 years ago in 1977, initially working in Product Development. 25 years later he became the Managing Director of BAR F1. More recently, he was a main player in Formula One, acting as CEO of Mercedes’ team before leaving in 2013.

Read the full article here.

Team Vitality secure €2.5 million investment

The co-founders of Team Vitality, Fabien Devide and Nicolas Maurer, have today announced that they have secured a major investment to the tune of €2.5 million (£2.21m). 

This has come from investment groups Korelya Capital, Kima Ventures and H26. H26 is an investment company owned by Olivier Decourt, the President of Ligue 1 side Dijon FCO. 

Team Vitality have stated that they will use the funds to ‘recruit the best players, participate in major professional video game competitions and leagues around the world, and create an academy dedicated to League of Legends’. This academy aspect is perhaps the most interesting, and it’s something more teams are looking to as they aim to train and nurture the next generation of pros. 

Nicolas Maurer, CEO of Team Vitality said of the news: “Vitality’s ambition is to become an undisputed European leader whose teams participate in all the major professional e-sports leagues. The fundraising, along with our partners, will let us accelerate our growth and consolidate our position among the biggest e-sports brands in Europe.”

Team Vitality is one of the top organisations hailing from France, and recently announced that they would be one of four currently announced new teams to join the new season of Gfinity’s Elite Series in London. This investment is notable too as whilst an increasing number of esports orgs over in the States have found major investors, this is a rarer occurrence here in Europe. Vitality field players and teams across a dozen games including League of Legends, FIFA, and PUBG. 

Read the full article here.