MTS has acquired UK-based Gambit Esports and launched its own eSports division as it looks to attract a younger user base and expand beyond telecoms.

The Russian operator said it wanted to capitalise on the growing popularity of eSports, which sees people compete at online video games.

Financial details of the deal for Gambit, an eSport club with four teams that compete at the likes of Counter-Strike and FIFA, and its parent Praliss Enterprises were not disclosed.

Gambit owns a number of exclusive assets, including the rights to participate in international tournaments, the production of branded clothing and a studio for creating media content such as video tutorials.

It makes money from sponsorship contracts, prizes, sales of brand attributes and digital goods, remuneration for participation in leagues, as well as transfer revenues.

“Our move to the gaming industry was inevitable as we aspire to be on the forefront of working with industries and technology disruptors that challenge, inspire and innovate,” MTS said in a statement.

It cited figures from Superdata Research, which is forecasting the global eSports market will grow from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $2.3 billion in 2020.

Russia is the second largest eSports market in Europe behind Sweden, according to the analyst firm.

The new MTS eSports division will be headed by Irina Semenova, one of the founders of the Virtus.pro team, with Gambit Esports CEO Konstantin "Groove" Pikiner taking on the role of eSports Director.

It plans to help with marketing activities and develop new products, MTS said.

Pikiner said: "Big brands from all over the world, famous sports and entertainment organisations have begun investing in the esports industry, therefore we are glad that Russian companies are not an exception.

“Opportunities provided by one of the leading technological companies will allow us to focus on achieving competitive success and interaction with our audience."

Read more: Telefónica Spain targets online gaming with ESL deal

More News

Telia Company feels good about 2018 after EBITDA increase Telia Company feels good about 2018 after EBITDA increase Telia Company has hailed a strong balance sheet and "a lot to look forward to in 2018" as it posted EBITDA growth in its first quarter. More detail
Ericsson looks ahead with cautious optimism after Q1 loss reduction Ericsson looks ahead with cautious optimism after Q1 loss reduction Ericsson has made its first attempt to put a horrific 2017 behind it by improving upon its losses thanks to improving margins and a costs blitz in its first quarter. More detail
A1 chooses T-Systems exec for new CEO A1 chooses T-Systems exec for new CEO A1 Telekom Austria Group has chosen a Deutsche Telekom and Nokia veteran as its new CEO as part of a wider restructure which will also see its Chairman depart. More detail
"Challenging consumer market" fails to dent Sky's Q3 performance Sky has shrugged off a "challenging" consumer climate to post increases in sales and profits. More detail
OBS taps Siemens for new industrial IoT solutions OBS taps Siemens for new industrial IoT solutions Orange Business Services (OBS) has teamed up with Siemens to launch a new set of IoT tools for industrial companies. More detail
    

@eurocomms