Esports' Blast generates £1.7m in funding from Edge Investments
Blast, the global esports organisation, has secured £1.7 million ($2.25 million) in funding from the Edge Investment corporation.
Blast has said it will use the funding “to accelerate…. its international expansion and optimise its production capabilities, while bolstering its broader UK operations.”
Blast runs events for the popular Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) esports franchise, as well as for new title Valorant, and Dota 2.
Edge specialises in investing in technology firms and trends that it believes will positively impact the creative economy.
Robbie Douek, Blast’s chief executive, said: “We chose Edge for access to their specialist knowledge and network in content distribution, media promotion and production, and we are delighted to have them on board as we enter what looks to be a pivotal year for us.”
Blast also this week entered into a partnership with the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, which will cover the last three CS:GO events of the 2020 season on its streaming service, BBC iPlayer.
The BBC will show over 120 hours of CS:GO content, including the Global Final.
Alexander Lewin, Blast’s vice-president of distribution and programming, said: “The BBC is admired around the world for its standard of excellence, and its digital platforms provide the perfect destination for Blast’s fans based in the UK.”
Aside from the BBC, the tournaments will also be covered in the UK by the YouTube and Twitch video streaming sites.
Over the last six months, with most sport having been severely impacted by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC has shown action from esports tournaments such as League of Legends and Rocket League.
Elsewhere in esports, English soccer superstar Dele Alli has signed up to become the first global brand ambassador of Excel Esports, the prominent UK-based organisation.
Excel runs teams which compete in the LoL and Fortnite titles, and Alli is already an ambassador of Excel’s partner organisation, HyperX.
Wouter Sleijffers, chief executive of Excel Esports, said: “We look forward to working with Dele to develop our talent, utilise his advice and skill set to guide Excel forward and help us ensure we aren’t being complacent with our new ambition.”
Last week, Excel unveiled a rebrand to help drive expansion going forward.
The team has adopted a new visual identity, with the manifesto of ‘The Power of Better’, as it seeks to have a positive influence on the wider gaming and esports industry.
Excel, which launched in 2014, claims to be looking to evolve as a professional esports team, "steering beyond the over-used 'lifestyle' esports brand and carving out a new unique path in esports that will see it driven by performance and incorporating purpose."
Earlier this year, Excel signed up UK telecoms giant BT as lead partner and expanded its leadership team with the arrival of Sleijffers, and chief commercial officer Robin McCammon, the former director of global sports marketing at Adidas.