A major acquisition was signed this week, seeing Entain take control of Unikrn, demonstrating the increasing closeness between the sports betting industry and the esports sector.

Breaking down the completion of the £50 million acquisition on the latest edition of the ESI Digest, Esports Insider Sub-Editor Tom Daniels described the deal as ‘huge for that specific sector (esports)’.

Entain will acquire the group’s technology platform, products and team, whilst appointing Justin Dellario as Head of Esports, with the former Twitch executive overseeing the company’s burgeoning esports activities.

Daniels continued: “For those who don’t know, Entain’s subsidiaries and sister companies include the likes of bwin, Coral, Ladbrokes and PartyPoker, so they have huge names and brands associated with them, and to see a player like this go into esports betting and use Unikrn as their hub for esports betting, is very interesting.

“It does highlight the growth of esports as a whole, because as esports itself continues to rise you see more tv rights get introduced, you see mainstream media warning to get attention,and esports betting and betting in general wanting to get some of this revenue that’s coming in.”

Meanwhile, another major M&A story of the week saw Sweden’s Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) merge with Chinese esports brand ESV5 to create the NIP Group, and subsequently join the League of Legends franchise league, the LPL, marking the firm’s return to the game.

A joint venture between Chinese esports organisations eStar Gaming and Victory Five, ESV5 will allow the Victory Five to be rebranded as Ninjas in Pyjamas for the 2022 season.

“I do feel what was lost in the wayside a little bit was the fact that same procedure will occur to Victory Five’s Wild Rift team as well, so Ninjas in Pyjamas will also have a League of Legends Wild Rift, which is an expansion more into mobile esports as well,” Daniels explained. 

“Overall I think this is a great move for Ninjas in Pyjamas, as actually joining the LPL, which is already one of the more popular leagues in League of legends if not the most popular, is good for a brand which is looking to expand itself globally.

“There are thoughts as to why they didn’t acquire a European League of Legends squad, but it does feel like this is more of a global effort to attract more fans in.”

Finally, the ESI Digest also examined the partnership between BLAST Premier and Nerd Street Gamers, which will see the duo collaborate on hosting an official BLAST Premier Fall Showdown CS:GO qualifier round.

Taking place on 10-12 September at the Fragadelphia 15 offline tournament organised between the competition and Nerd Street Gamers, the tournament will feature a $60,000 prize pool

“Overall, I think this is great news for nursery, for CS:GO and for Blast – its a trifecta of good news,, it kind of provides a little bit more of a path to pro,” said Daniels. 

“You’ve got the amateur team from Greg Adelphia who will now have the chance to compete in the BLAST Premier Fall Showdown. Even if they don’t end up making it there I think the fact that there is still kind of a clear path now is really good for the CSGO scene so overall this is a great move.”

Other topics covered in the latest ESI Digest include We Are Nations’ launch of N2 as a new vehicle for housing and marketing apparel collections and Brazilian esports group Loud’s partnership with Facebook.

Source – Esports Insider YouTube Channel

ESI Digest: Entain completes £50m Unikrn acquisition