Misfits Gaming Group pivots from esports to content creators
Misfits Gaming Group has abandoned its founding mission to become the world's largest esports organization. Instead, the 6-year-old company wants to invest in content, CEO Ben Spoont tells Axios.
Why it matters: Even amid economic uncertainties, startups are building for the creator economy on the presumption that's where consumer attention is going.
Driving the news: Misfits announced Thursday it's launching a $20 million creator fund. Any creator can apply to access financing or operational partners to support their own projects.
Catch up quick: Misfits launched in 2016 as a professional esports organization. It's raised more than $65 million over three rounds — most recently, a $35 million funding round led by E.W. Scripps in September 2021.
- Spoont says he decided to pivot the business earlier this year, first by selling its League of Legends European Championships spot. It was reportedly worth about $35 million.
- "The value that was being created [in esports] was not often aligned with the value that we were trying to obtain ourselves," says Spoont, who suggested the true moneymakers were publishers like Riot Games and Activision Blizzard.
How it works: Spoont says Misfits' goal is not to "replace or to augment talent management" but rather "accelerating actual creator output."
- Misfits is already doing that with its existing community. It's helping Aimsey with a podcast, Ranboo with a show and event series and Hikaru Nakamura with a chess-themed show.
Meanwhile: The company also announced Thursday that YouTuber QTCinderella is joining and building her own events management and production company.
- What's been lacking across the industry is someone willing "to support their creators not only financially but in a way that encourages them to create whatever they want," she tells Axios.
Yes, but: Misfit hasn't completely moved on from fielding esports teams. It still owns Florida Mayhem in the Overwatch League and Florida Mutineers in the Call of Duty League.
What's next: Misfits is operating "near breakeven," Spoont says.
- "Esports is not a profitable business. It just isn't, and anyone that tells you that it is is an extreme outlier," he says. "But this new model will be extremely profitable for us."
- Spoont says Misfits isn't looking to raise more outside capital immediately but could do so in the future to launch a second creator fund.