United Talent Agency is delving into the world of competitive professional video gaming, better known as esports.
The talent and entertainment company announced on Wednesday that it’s acquiring sister companies Press X, a esports talent and marketing agency, and Everyday Influencers, a top management company representing gamers.
With the acquisition, UTA plans to launch a new esports group that will include more than 90 of the most influential esports athletes and top streamers including League of Legends stars Aphromoo and sOAZ, as well as streamers Imaqtpie, Pokimane and Disguised Toast, among the others.
The terms of the deal weren’t announced, but UTA hopes the acquisition will establish the agency as a significant player in esports as the industry booms. Twitch users logged over 2 billion hours of viewed content in just the first quarter of this year, and the esports industry is expected to hit more than $1.5 billion by 2020.
“We have both witnessed the paradigm shift in the consumption of gaming content and the rapid maturation of esports as an influential force in mainstream culture,” said UTA Games Head Ophir Lupu and UTA Ventures head Sam Wick in a joint statement. “As UTA deepens its role in the esports sector, the addition of Press X and Everyday Influencers and the level of expertise they bring will be invaluable. Damon and his team are unrivaled in their breadth of knowledge in the space as well as in the representation of their incredible clients. We could not be more excited for the limitless opportunities we will create together.”
Press X and Everyday Influencers Co-Founder, Damon Lau, will head the newly minted group and report to Lupu and Wick.
“As we identify and adopt early trends within the digital ecosystem, we recognized that the acquisition of Press X and Everyday Influencers would be a forward-looking opportunity for us,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a statement. “The gaming sector is projected to reach over $135B this year and esports and streaming are critical components of any strategy for growth. For UTA, these categories are complementary to our existing gaming practice and our business overall.”
UTA has a rapidly growing games division, led by Lupu, that navigates publishing deals, employment contracts, intellectual property deals and corporate and project financing, as well as corporate development for its growing roster of high-profile clients.
The games division was started seven years ago and has advised on more than $350 million in transactions.
“Our agency represents an amazing roster of talent that truly personify the best of the esports community and streaming culture,” said Lau, Press X and Everyday Influencers Co-Founder, in a statement. “With UTA’s vast resources and track record of establishing talent in entertainment and music, we are thrilled to lead this seismic change in the industry and to drive the convergence of games, sports and culture.”