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Andbox, the esports organization backed by the owners of the New York Mets is raising money to fuel its expansion into competitive video gaming.
The business has hired boutique investment bank Raine Group to help with the raise, which is ongoing. Andbox is looking to raise as much as US$40 million, according to people familiar with the plans.
Andbox owns two esports teams -- the New York Excelsior, or NYXL, which competes in the Overwatch League, and the New York Subliners, which plays in the new Call of Duty League. Both leagues are built around Activision Blizzard Inc. games and are operated by the Los Angeles-based game publisher.
While many esports organizations have a large number of teams that compete in both professionalized leagues and less structured ones, Andbox has for now stuck to just those two. Those leagues each cost tens of millions to enter and are modeled similarly to the NFL or NBA, with set franchises, revenue sharing and minimum salaries.
Andbox is hoping to be the go-to esports organization of New York, the country’s largest media market. This year, for the first time, every Overwatch League team left Los Angeles for its home city, meaning NYXL will be playing matches in New York. The Call of Duty League, which has a touring model, will come to New York in early June.
Andbox was launched last year by Sterling.VC, an early-stage investment fund backed by Sterling Equities -- the family office owned by the Wilpon and Katz families. Sterling, whose assets include the Mets and the regional network Sportsnet New York, is diversifying as it considers a sale of the Mets.
Other investors include the Pohlad family, the owners of baseball’s Minnesota Twins, and investment bank Allen & Co., which has been retained to help with the Mets sale.