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Telstra’s Bet On ESports Pays Off With Historic Deal

When Telstra Ventures waded into the esports pool a few years back, it was seen as an odd choice for the venture capital fund, which is backed by strategic investors Telstra and private equity fund HarbourVest.

The fund has invested over US$450 million in 70 companies since founding in 2011, and generated more than US$280 million in revenue for portfolio companies.

One of its investment companies TSM, an LA-based competitive video game group, has now secured a US$271m sponsorship deal, the biggest in esports history.

The deal will see crypto exchange FTX given the naming rights to Team SoloMid for ten years.

“This is a watershed moment in the industry and is not only the largest sponsorship deal in esports history, but one of the largest in traditional sports history,” Telstra Ventures general partner Yash Patel told The Australian.

“To put this into context, FTX bought the naming rights for NBA’s Miami Heat arena a few days ago for $US135m over 19 years. For further context, Barclays is paying $US200m over 20 years to sponsor the Brooklyn Nets arena and team.

“This pioneering deal proves how large and engaged this market is and I expect more to come as CMOs and brand sponsors shift their spend from traditional sports to esports.”

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