The ESPN of Esports
By showcasing news and highlights, cable channel ESPN changed the way people watched sports. And it became a fifty-billion-dollar business in the process.
But ESPN features traditional sports — football, basketball, baseball, etc. These days, millions of people are into esports, a type of sports competition centered around video games.
Globally, three billion people play video games. Another 500 million enjoy watching others play games online. The esports market brought in around $770 million in revenue. But by 2029, it’s expected to generate $5.8 billion.
So where is the ESPN for esports? A startup called Juked is aiming to create it.
This company is building a social network for esports fans and gamers. Through its online platform, fans can access scores, statistics, highlights, events, and breaking news. According to Juked, its platform will be “a one-stop shop that has everything esports fans need.”
Prominent investors are already taking interest in this company. Juked’s investors include 500 Startups, the former CEO of video game company Blizzard Entertainment, and a former board member at Twitch, a live-streaming company recently valued at close to four billion dollars.
As mentioned, Juked’s platform is targeting a huge market. And it can potentially ease some major frustrations among esports fans.
More specifically, the esports market right now is fragmented. In other words, there isn’t a good way for esports fans to follow their favorite games, players, and teams.
To stay informed, fans need to stay glued to social media, and scroll across dozens of websites and online forums. It makes esports difficult, time-consuming, and inefficient to follow. But it’s also a drag on the industry itself. It makes it hard for existing fans to stay engaged, and tough for those interested to become fans in the first place.
Juked brings esports fans together under a single platform. Here’s how:
First and foremost, Juked is a place where esports fans can watch live streams of their favorite tournaments and competitions. This includes broadcasts from popular streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
Furthermore, the platform enables fans to stay up to date with the latest scores, standings, and schedules. They can even learn about breaking news and “deep dives” into the esports industry.
However, Juked isn’t just a place to find information. It’s a community where fans can come together. To build this community, Juked users can create individual profiles, take part in fantasy esports, and chat with like-minded fans.
Juked launched its platform in 2019 and currently has tens of thousands of monthly active users. This year, the company plans to release additional social-focused features and create a web version of its mobile platform. In Q2 2023, Juked aims to begin monetizing its business.
To generate revenue, the company will offer premium subscriptions that will range from $4.99 to $9.99 per month. Additionally, it will sell ads and offer in-app purchases to gamers.
Chris has more than 15 years of product and engineering experience. He’s also created some of the most popular Esports talk shows and podcasts for successful games including Overwatch, Hearthstone, and StarCraft 2.
Prior to Juked, he was Co-Founder & CEO of Visual Core, a gaming company. Before that, he founded ChanmanV TV, a service hosting online gaming podcasts.
Earlier, Chris was Head of Strategic Partnerships with HearthSim, a computer software company focused on the Esports industry. He held this position after spending 10 years with Bonfire, a media company.
Chris began his career as a senior software engineer with IBM. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas.
Ben started Juked in 2019 after a successful career in the streaming industry.
Most recently, he was on the founding team at Twitch, a live video streaming platform that was acquired by Amazon for nearly $1 billion. Today, this service is valued at nearly $4 billion.
Ben served as Twitch’s Senior Manager of Partnerships, establishing connections with gaming companies like Blizzard, Riot, and DreamHack. He then became Director of Content Marketing.
Prior to his time with Twitch, he was a gaming outreach manager with Justin.tv, a similar streaming service that merged with Twitch. Before that, he co-founded GamesCast.tv, one of the first aggregators of Esports streaming platforms.
Earlier in his career, Ben was Marketing Lead for Quake Live TV, a broadcast media company. Before that, he was Vice President of Communications for the Santa Cruz Energy & Resources Collaborative.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Delan joined Juked shortly after the company’s launch in 2019.
Before that, he was Chief Technology Officer at Woovit, a platform connecting digital goods publishers to creators.
Notably, he was Chief Technology Officer for Roostr, a marketplace for the mobile gaming industry. In 2016, this company was acquired by Chartboost, a competitor in the industry.
Prior to that, Delan was a software engineer with Bolo Software, a software development company. He held this position after working in the gaming industry with Lucasfilm, a gaming company. He was a resource assistant and associate production engineer.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Film Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Prominent seed fund and accelerator program founded by PayPal and Google alumni. Investments include AngelList, Unbounce, and Behance.