The biggest esports franchise in Russia just received a massive investment.
Virtus.Pro, the Russian organization that hosts world-class teams in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, announced an investment that could reach as much as $100 million (the press release isn’t clear on the exact funding amount). The money comes from USM Holdings, a firm founded by Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, that invests in a variety of industries like telecom and mining.
Esports, apparently, is its next target. And in Russia, esports are largely synonymous with Virtus.Pro. In addition to its internationally recognized teams, Virtus.Pro is a large media organization with ties to every aspect of the Russian esports scene.
“E-sports are a unique proposition, uniting the sports, media and the internet industries,” Ivan Steshinsky, a board member of USM Holdings, said. “It is a fast-growing market, which has already generated huge interest around the world and Virtus.pro is the leader in the e-sports industry in Russia.”
The money will help Virtus.Pro expand its operations and boost esports’ profile in Russia. One way they’re trying to do that? Building esports arenas.
“Our main goal is to increase the popularity of e-sports in Russia, and this is what USM’s investment will go towards,” Anton Cherepennikov, managing partner and co-owner of Virtus.Pro, said. “The funds will primarily be used to launch new tournaments and various new gaming disciplines, as well to create media channels to cover the sport and to construct e-sports arenas.”
The investment represents another huge vote of confidence in an esports industry that continues to grow at an astonishing rate worldwide.