Mark Cuban is getting into a new sport. One with a bit less sweat and a lot more frantic mouse clicking.
As the world of competitive video gaming (commonly referred to as eSports) grows, so does its interest from people with big pockets. After all, when you have 27 million people watching the finals for a League of Legends tournament, there are going to be people who want to grab that audience.
So it's not a big surprise that eSports-centric site Unikrn, based in Seattle, just raised $7 million from a group of investors. Among them is Dallas Mavericks owner (and Shark Tank shark) Mark Cuban.
"Hundreds of companies every year try to get me to invest, whether on Shark Tank or off camera," Cuban said in a press release. "However, I only put my money and my name on the companies that I feel will be successful, truly advance an industry and have a leadership team that I respect. Unikrn fits all these requirements.
On a basic level, Unikrn is a site where eSports fans can go to watch matches across a variety of different games, including League of Legends and Dota 2. While they watch they can chat with other viewers and see the statistical odds between teams for each match.
But Unikrn's primary hook is that it offers "safe and legal wagering" on video game matches worldwide ... With limits. While anyone with an account can "bet" on a match, you're only able to wager real money on eSports games if you're in Australia or the UK. Still, Unikrn hopes to use the nearly-acquired investment funds to further develop its platform.
"The rapid growth of eSports has created an entire new category of competition and I am proud to partner with [Unikrn CEO and co-founder] Rahul Sood and his team to help bring eSports to an even greater audience," Cuban said. "As a sports fanatic and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, I'm excited to be involved with a new sport just as it's poised for huge growth."