Top 10 most valuable esports teams in 2020: 100 Thieves, FaZe, more

Published: 5/Dec/2020 17:51 Updated: 7/Dec/2020 15:56

by Calum Patterson


According to a new report from Forbes, the top 10 most valuable esports companies are worth a combined $2.4 billion, with some truly eyebrow-raising figures for teams like TSM, Cloud9 and FaZe Clan.

Forbes has released an annual estimate of the most valuable esports companies since 2018. Their sources for the figures comprise of “Company executives, investors, investment advisors, public documents.”

This does leave room for the organizations themselves to potentially inflate the figures somewhat, so should not be seen as an exact and accurate value. Rather, it is essentially an informed estimate.

Some of the standout moves from 2019 include 100 Thieves jumping 5 spots up to 5th, as well as the disappearance of Immortals Gaming from the top 10.

Top 10 most valuable esports companies

  1. TSM: $410 million (+3%)
  2. Cloud9 $350 million (-13%)
  3. Team Liquid: $310M (-3%)
  4. FaZe Clan: $305M (+27%)
  5. 100 Thieves: $190M (+27%)
  6. GenG: $185M (-)
  7. Enthusiast Gaming: $180M (-)
  8. G2 Esports: $175M (+6%)
  9. NRG Esports: $155M (+3%)
  10. T1: $150M (-)

In their report, Forbes says that overall esports revenue fell $150 million, largely due to the cancellation of most LAN events. This is said to have had a “knock-on effect” on merchandising and sponsorships too.

100 Thieves COO John Robinson said “The modern battlefield in gaming is for larger social media and YouTube talent.” 100 Thieves specifically now have a large roster of content creators, including the likes of Valkyrae, BrookeAB, Neeko, Yassou, CouRage, Tommey and more.

100 Thieves content creators at the Cash App Compound
100 Thieves
100 Thieves now boast a huge roster of content creators.

This has perhaps come at the expense of actual esports teams though. 100 Thieves pulled out of Counter-Strike, but have joined the Call of Duty League for the 2021 season. The company expects to make $16 million in revenue this year.

FaZe Clan are similar to 100 Thieves in their approach to signing the biggest talent in content creation, not just competitive players. FaZe CEO Lee Trink said “What you have seen in the last year is other esports companies are catching on to what has been our philosophy from day one, which is to explore the outer reaches of what gaming can be.”

FaZe Swagg Warzone gaming
Instagram: swagg_
FaZe Clan continued their emphasis on content creators in 2020.

For Immortals, who dropped out of the top 10, are estimated to have sold the OpTic Gaming brand back to Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez for $10 million – significantly less than they bought it for.

With the hope that esports will return to putting on live events in 2021, an even bigger jump in these estimations could be expected. Although, the first CSGO major of 2021, which was scheduled for May, has already been canceled. So too has the Fortnite World Cup.


Why Valorant’s esports HUD is a problem and how Riot can fix it

Published: 7/Dec/2020 3:18

by Andrew Amos


Tuning into Valorant First Strike this week, I was pleasantly surprised to see a new heads-up display (HUD) for viewers. It expanded on the info we were getting previously with the default HUD, and it really seemed like a step forward.

My initial thought was “wow, Valorant really is going all-in on the CS:GO clone meme.” It’s almost a spitting image to the HUD we’ve become familiar with over the last decade in Counter-Strike — framing the scene and keeping all the information in the periphery.

But the more I watched First Strike, the more I felt like the HUD wasn’t there to inform me. It was blocking the stream, and ultimately ruining the experience. I found myself more fed up with its existence, craving the old (yet simple!) one that’s already built into the game.

New Valorant in-game HUD for tournaments
Riot Games
The new Valorant HUD looks so good, but lacks functionality…

How could the new HUD, which looks better, and should function better, be so much worse? Let’s break down the major gripes.

First of all, it’s lacking critical information. How many HP does a player have? How close are they to their Ultimate? Unless they pull up that player’s POV, it’s impossible to tell at a glance.

The other major one is the delay. The second-long delay between something happening and it showing up on the HUD makes clutch situations awfully confusing to track.

Behind closed doors, tournament organizers have been scrambling to deal with the problems, leading to botched overlays, and some outright disabling it when things have gone awry. The Japanese stream still uses the old overlay, while Western events are still pushing the square into the circular hole.

Valorant new HUD glitching out
Twitch: FortressMelb
While a solid starting point, the First Strike HUD still has its teething problems.

Although I loathe to base any analysis on what Twitch chat has to say, there were plenty of viewers asking why the HUD is broken. This then spills out onto Twitter, with everyone and their dog providing suggestions for a fix — some of which are incredibly valid.

The fact that there’s no health counter means it’s impossible to judge if a player is ‘one-shot’ unless viewing their POV. One HP can make all the difference, so this should be an easy addition.

Then we arrive at the issue of tracking a player’s Ultimate status. Moving the Ultimate logo outside of the player box and surrounding it by a circle that gradually fills would be a simple solution.

There are countless more issues, but I’m not a software developer and I don’t know the limitations. What I do know is that right now, I prefer the old HUD.

Aside from the issues, there is one thing Riot got right ⁠— and that’s the new HUD as a concept. This new display has the potential to really shape the Valorant viewing experience as we move towards Valorant Champions Tour.

ESL spectator HUD for Valorant
CS:GO’s custom spectator HUDs are the ideal, but Valorant first iteration has missed the mark.

In reality, however, this HUD came too early. It’s a change that could have waited until next year’s Valorant Champions Tour. Of course, commercially speaking, the new HUD provides Riot with a neat way of incorporating partners into the broadcast.

And while I’m happy it’s here ⁠— despite all of its flaws ⁠— debuting a proper HUD during next year’s Champions Tour (with all of the creases ironed out), would have given more spectator impact.

After all, it was a surprise. Its absence wouldn’t have been noticed anyway. Now, it feels like First Strike was just a beta test for Champions Tour — and maybe it should be.