Teams from the NBA, MLB, and Italian soccer invested $7 million in esports team Fnatic

Mar 23, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics guard Evan Turner (11) defends during the first half at TD Garden.Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsThe respective owners of the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors invested in Fnatic.

Fnatic, one of the biggest teams in competitive gaming, is raising $US7 million from a number of investors including the owners of traditional sports franchises the Boston Celtics, AS Roma, and the Houston Astros.

Also investing in the team is Jim Pallotta’s Raptor Group and the head of MIT’s Media Lab Joi Ito.

Esports is a growing market and is expected to breach the $US1 billion revenue mark in 2017, according to research firm SuperData.

Esports’ growth has attracted a number of traditional media partners such as ESPN and sports leagues like the NBA.

Sam Matthews, founder of Fnatic said in a statement: “There has been strong growth in esports, which has accelerated in recent years, but the major shift has been in the acceptance and inclusion by sports franchises, media companies and high profile individuals who have entered and advanced the industry rapidly.”

Both the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics have expressed their interest in the NBA’s new esports league and said they would have their owns teams in it. Boston Celtics player Jonas Jerebko even went bought his own franchise in August 2016. In February 2017 Italian soccer team AS Roma partnered with Fnatic for a Fifa-specific team.

A spokesperson for the team told Business Insider that Fnatic would use the investment to primarily grow its training staff, which includes coaches, analysts, and sports psychologists as well as its facilities. Red Bull, which is one of the most active brands in esports, built its own training facility in Santa Monica for its players.

The investment will also be used to grow its branded equipment lines, which Fnatic sells at events and through its own esports store, which launched as a pop-up in London in December.

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