The E.W. Scripps Co. has invested $10 million in Misfits Gaming Group as part of a $35 million funding round for the eSports company.
Scripps sees working with Misfits Gaming as a way to engage with people in Generation Z, who are not big traditional TV viewers.
Misfits Gaming owns three eSports teams including two Florida squads. It also has a network of content creators and a full-service media team. One of its owners is Laurie Silvers, co-founder of the Syfy channel and the majority owner of five Florida radio stations. The Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic of the NBA and Haslam Sports, which owns the Cleveland Browns, also have stakes in Misfits Gaming.
“We spend a lot of time looking at where people are spending time and where advertising money is moving,” Brian Lawlor, president of Scripps Local Media told Broadcasting+Cable.
“The GenZs and the millennials spend a lot of time in the eSports space and we’re definitely seeing real interest among some advertisers to get in front of that audience.”
Lawlor will be Scripps’ representative on the Misfits Gaming board.
Scripps was attracted to the eSports company because “the more we looked at them, what we really saw was a content company and a revenue company," Lawlor said.
Misfits was also a great fit because of its Florida teams, The Florida Mutineers in the Call of Duty League and the Florida Mayhem in the OverWatch League.
“We’re probably the largest media company and news organization in Florida, with six linear stations in five markets,” Lawlor said.
“We also have a couple hundred sellers and we have thousands of advertising relationships that we serve on a regular basis with our linear platform, on our digital, our mobile and our OTT platforms,” he said. “When we work with our advertisers, many of them say, ‘hey can you help us find GenZs?’ We’ll be able to connect with Misfits to create new revenue streams using their platforms, their players and their audience. I think there’s a lot of money to be made and there's a lot of unique content that can make both of our companies significantly better.”
Scripps’ investment entitles it to distribute Misfits Gaming’s content through its linear and over-the-top television platforms.
Lawlor said the possibilities include showing live games on some of its stations and networks. Scripps could also create content that helps people better understand eSports and its players. “We can bring it on our air and create a platform for partnerships, product integrations, sponsorship and ad support with our regular customers that’s really interesting.”
Misfit Gaming already creates content for platforms including TikTok and Twitch that engages the GenZ audience. “We will learn as much from them about content creation and revenue generation in that space as I think they will learn from us,” he said.
“We are fortunate to have a progressive-minded partner in Scripps that sees a big-picture landscape for the future and is as excited as we are to capture the hearts and minds of Gen Z and Millennial audiences,” said Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming Group. “There are opportunities through this partnership to develop broadcast and over-the-top programming for target audiences that are important to both of us on a nationwide level. This is just the beginning of eSports’ impact. We expect to be key players in the rapidly changing media landscape.”
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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