The Modern Times Group has officially sold its esports tournament organizer ESL to the Savvy Gaming Group. The company has also picked up FACEIT, which means that two of the biggest tournament organizers in esports will be changing hands—and merging—for a reported $1.5 billion, according to the Sports Business Journal. The Savvy Gaming Group is “fully owned” by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, according to ESL and FACEIT’s announcement.
ESL is famous for hosting events like ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, the ESL Pro Tour, and ESL Play, and can be found across multiple globally-acclaimed esports such as CS:GO, StarCraft, and Dota 2. In a similar vein, FACEIT has become one of the leading independent competitive gaming platforms in the world, most known for the Esports Championship Series and hosting the 2018 London Major in CS:GO.
ESL and FACEIT’s leadership teams will remain relatively the same. Craig Levine and Niccolo Maisto will be co-CEOs, while ESL’s co-founder Ralf Reichert will move into an executive chairman role in support of the leadership team.
“By uniting these complementary capabilities, and with the backing of SGG, we are taking a long-term approach to develop a more robust platform to better support the future of the whole competitive gaming ecosystem and generate more value for all its stakeholders in a sustainable way,” Maisto said in the official announcement.
The Savvy Gaming Group is a long-term investor group currently headed by Brian Ward, the former head of worldwide studios at Activision Blizzard. He’s also joined by Jerry Gamez and Kadri Harma. The former is the CEO of Savvy’s infrastructure company, while the latter is the CEO of its ecosystem company, according to the Sports Business Journal.
SGG says it’s comprised of five operating companies: Savvy Esports Company, Savvy Fund, Savvy Ecosystem Company, Savvy Games Studio, and the Savvy Infrastructure Company. Each one is “committed to empowering and enabling the strategies” of its partners and is “investing heavily in the games and esports industry.”