Major Arsenal stakeholder invests $100m in Russian eSports community

Major Arsenal stakeholder invests $100m in Russian eSports community
Ben Parfitt

Russian eSports organisation Virtus.pro has received investment that could total over $100m from a company owned by one of Arsenal’s controlling figures.

Virtus is Russia’s largest eSports group, organising tournaments, running a vast network of recording studios and hosting an eSports community that has over 7.6m subscribers. Its content was viewed over 1bn times last year.

Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holdings is fronting the investment. Usmanov owns around 30 per cent of Arsenal football club. He also owns Mail.ru, which operates a number of MMOs in the region and has investments in a range of companies including Twitter, Zynga and Alibaba.

“eSports are a unique proposition, uniting the sports, media and the internet industries,” USM director Ivan Streshinsky said. “It is a fast-growing market, which has already generated huge interest around the world and Virtus.pro is the leader in the e-sports industry in Russia.

“I am confident that the support from USM will spur the company’s further development and enable it to take its projects to a whole new level.”

Virtus.pro co-owner Anton Cherepennikov added: “Our main goal is to increase the popularity of eSports in Russia, and this is what USM’s investment will go towards. The funds will primarily be used to launch new tournaments and various new gaming disciplines, as well to create media channels to cover the sport and to construct e-sports arenas.”

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