Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas, also known as NIP, have started a joint venture with investment platform Aser Ventures that looks to help sports clubs enter the esports industry.
The convergence of esports and sports has been noticeable over the past few years, with many popular clubs and athletes across the biggest sports either investing in existing esports organizations or starting their own competitive gaming initiatives.
The likes of the NBA 2K League and ePremier League are examples of legacy sports teams and leagues embracing esports, though there are plenty of examples of clubs investing directly in esports orgs — a recent example is OverActive Media receiving $40m from NHL team Montreal Canadiens and two pro hockey players.
NIP believe there are plenty more crossover opportunities for esports and sports, now launching a joint venture with Aser Ventures that will offer “management, studio and media services” to sports clubs looking to get into competitive gaming.
The venture is called Shinobi Sports and will be led by CEO Danny Menken as they work towards their goal of “bridging the gap between traditional sport and esports to create new value for clubs, fans and partners.”
NIP partnered with English football club Leeds United in December 2020. The alliance, which specifically centered around FIFA esports competition ePremier League, has now been revealed as the first initiative in their collaborative venture with Aser.
The Swedish esports org announced a merger with Chinese esports company ESV5 in August 2021, creating a new entity in NIP Group. The deal will see NIP compete in the LPL, the premier Chinese League of Legends competition, from 2022 onwards.
“We first connected with Aser Ventures last year, and our discussions led to an extremely successful collaboration with Leeds United,” said NIP CEO Hicham Chahine. We were impressed with Aser Ventures´ track record, experience and vision in the sports industry, and soon developed a desire to expand our collaboration.
“We know there is a lot of potential to introduce esports as an attractive extension to sports clubs, and believe that Shinobi Sports are ideally placed to support this process. We are extremely excited to bring this project to life and share it with the world!”