NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
ESL and FACEIT are key operators for a number of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments.
Savvy Gaming Group, which is backed by the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, has bought two of video gaming's biggest tournament/league operators -- ESL and FACEIT -- for a combined $1.5B, sources tell SBJ. Modern Times Group is the owner of ESL, which was co-founded by Ralf Reichert and Jens Hilgers, among others, and remains one of the largest esports tournament organizers in the world with over 600 employees. It has given out millions in prize money. Savvy Gaming Group is led by CEO Brian Ward, a former Activision Senior VP. He works alongside Jerry Gamez, CEO for Savvy’s infrastructure company, and Kadri Harma, CEO for Savvy’s ecosystem company.
ESL hosts large-scale tournaments for games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. It also operates one of CS:GO's top competitions, the ESL Pro League. FACEIT, privately owned, also operates tourneys in the CS:GO space, and also has done tournaments for games like Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Siege.
The Saudi PIF has made a few moves in sports business recently. The fund is in talks to take over Series A club Inter Milan for more than $1B, and is reportedly in talks for Ligue 1 club Marseille. The PIF late last year also acquired EPL club Newcastle. It also is behind the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf venture.