Esports organization Fnatic announced Monday that it has raised over $ 7 million in financing, with contributions made by owners of the Boston Celtics, Houston Astros and AS Roma. Jim Pallotta, who is President of the Series A football club and co-owner of the Celtics, and his private investment company Raptor Group, also participated in the round.
The news comes less than two months after AS Roma formed a joint venture with Fnatic where three FIFA esports players would wear jerseys of the Italian football team with a Fnatic logo during competition. In addition, last month, Celtics Managing Partner, Governor and Chief Executive Officer Wyc Grousbeck expressed the team’s interest in gaming, saying “There will be an eCeltics,” which was in reference to the NBA’s 2K eLeague that will debut in 2018.
“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,” Sam Mathews, Founder of Fnatic, said in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited by the opportunities available within esports, and having world class investors and advisors only enhances our ability to address these opportunities and continue to innovate.”
Additional investors in Fnatic include Joi Ito (Director of the MIT Media Lab), Hannes Wallin (CEO and Founder of Fractal Design) and Hersh Interactive Group. According to the announcement, the funding will be used to grow the entire Fnatic brand, from coaches, analysts and psychologists to facility infrastructure and academy teams to product lines and team apparel.
“Fnatic is at the forefront of advancing esports, constantly deploying innovative forms of engagement and monetization that we believe will transform the overall sports and entertainment industry over time,” Fnatic Director and Raptor Group Investment Officer, Chris Pallotta said in a statement.
Fnatic currently fields 10 professional teams across titles such as League of Legeds, Dota 2, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.