We write about non-endemic investment into eSports quite a lot these days, however, we have to admit that this is a new one. An Indian billionaire, Ronnie Screwvala, is reportedly going to invest $15,000,000 USD to launch the country’s first major eSports league, according to reports from Indian media and an article on dotesports.com.
The investor is known as the founder of a media conglomerate UTV, which produced some of the most profitable Bollywood movies ever, making famous several of the current Bollywood superstars. His company was bought in 2012 by Disney for $454,000,000 USD. They didn’t do it straight away, however. The process started in 2006, when Disney bought a 14.9% stake in the conglomerate.
Screwvala is known as a dude who likes to bring up barely watched sport into the spotlight. He is the one who popularized a tradition Indian contact sport, Kabaddi, in contemporary India, turning into into the second most watched in the country. He has a Kabaddi team called U Mumba, based from Mumbai, which plays in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which has been established in 2014, yet is gaining on cricket for the title of the most watched sport in India.
Trying to repeat his achievement in India, Screwvala is reportedly establishing an eSports league with his $15M dollars. It seems like the league will consist of 10 teams, fighting for victory in multiple PC, Mobile, and even Console games for some reason (PC Master Race, yo!). It hasn’t been released what the games are going to be, however, the author of the dotesports.com report seems to expect that games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA, and Clash of Clans could be among the ones featured in the new league.
While India is not the country you think of when you hear the word “eSports”, it has potential. For one, it has one of the biggest populations in the world. The potential for ratings is great as a result. If more Indians got into eSports, the numbers would could seriously improve worldwide viewership as well. Also, with so many people, Indians could find themselves bringing up some great eSports players in a decade or so, provided that Screwvala can do to eSports what he did to Kabaddi, taking it out of relative obscurity and into the spotlight. Finally, India does have a lot of very rich people. If Screwvala’s initiative convinced them to join, the scene could blossom. After all, the reasons for non-endemic sponsors’ involvement in eSports in the West is true for India as well, probably.