WME-IMG Acquires Gaming Agency Global eSports Management

League of Legends Championship Crowd - H 2015
Courtesy of LoL Esports

League of Legends Championship Crowd - H 2015

The 2-year-old firm represents individuals and events in the competitive video game industry.

WME-IMG has acquired Global eSports Management, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

G.E.M., founded in 2013, represents professional video game players and commentators through branding, sponsorship and marketing opportunities.

The merger means that G.E.M.'s professional gamer clients, who include MinChul "MC" Jang and Carlos "ocelote" Rodriguez, and commentators, including Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles and Robbert "Siv HD" van Eijndhoven, will enter the WME fold alongside the elite athletes who joined when the Hollywood agency acquired sports- and fashion-centric IMG last year. G.E.M. co-founders Tobias Sherman and Min-Sik Ko are also coming on board.

"WME-IMG is proud to work with the best in the business across sports, entertainment, media, marketing and fashion," WME-IMG chief operating officer Jason Lublin said in a statement. "G.E.M. is no exception. Toby, Min-Sik and the team bring unparalleled industry knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to our world-class digital talent offering. We see tremendous growth and opportunity in the eSports space and we're excited to bring this expertise in-house."

The competitive video game industry, also known as eSports, now includes more than 71 million participants worldwide. Viewership of live competitions is growing — the 2013 League of Legends world championships, held at the Staples Center and broadcast via Amazon's Twitch streaming platform, drew an eSports-record 32 million viewers (8.5 million concurrently), more than the BCS national championship game (26.4 million) and the NBA Finals' Game 7 (26.3 million) that year. G.E.M. operates out of the U.S., Europe and South Korea, which has the largest eSports market in the world.

"This venture was created out of our passion for eSports and the desire to advocate for talent within the professional gaming industry," Sherman and Ko said in a joint statement. "By becoming a part of WME-IMG, we can maintain our core values while providing our clients with amazing access and opportunities they won't find anywhere else."