AlphaDraft, a fantasy eSports betting site, has become the latest such venture to secure capital investment to the tune of $5m.
The site, which launched in January of this year, also announced that they intend to pay out $5m in prizes and money throughout the course of 2015.
The news comes as the firm, founded by former enterprise software salesman Todd Peterson, is expanding the stable of games they support from League of Legends to include Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smite and another unannounced eSport title.
Peterson began looking into the viability of a fantasy sports site after noticing the uptake in traditional sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. However he concluded the market was saturated by these giants and their challengers, so looked to eSports instead.
AlphaDraft hopes to use the funding to improve user acquisition, aiming to have more than 1m active users by the end of the year. The company has had 1m entries to their weekly and daily contests since their January launch, with the most successful member winning $30,488 in prizes.
The institutional funding round, while massive for a new venture, is still small compared to eSports fantasy rivals Vulcun who secured $12m in their Series A round of funding in April - though is significantly higher than the $1.2m raised during Vulcun’s initial opening.
The Los Angeles investment firm, Metamorphic Ventures, led the funding followed closely by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, as well as former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
“There is a current fundamental shift in media consumption and entertainment, captured by eSports,” said Metamorphic’s Managing Partner David Hirsch. “eSports events nearly instantly sell out major arenas like the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden; and eSports dominate conversations across all major social media platforms. Simply put, eSports are growing at a pace that will soon put them on par with traditional sports.”
According to data collected by AlphaDraft, the eSports industry is predicted to generate more than $500m in revenue by 2017, and fantasy sports make $3.6bn annually. Other statistics from CunchBase suggest that investors have poured $263m into fantasy league so far this year, more than doubling the $121m raised last year.