Russian conglomerate USM Holdings, owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, has invested around $100m (€88.1m) in Russia’s largest esports company Virtus.pro.
Virtus.pro, which has more than 7.6 million subscribers, organises and broadcasts competitions for such games as Counter Strike, Dota 2 and League of Legends.
The Bloomberg news agency said the money invested by USM Holdings will be used to fund further competitions and consolidate Virtus.pro’s position within the esports market.
In a statement, Ivan Streshinsky, a board member at USM Holdings, said: “esports are a unique proposition, uniting the sports, media and internet industries. It is a fast-growing market, which has already generated huge interest around the world.”
The deal is the latest in a line of deals that highlight the increasing level of interest in esports. Last year, leading online retailer Amazon spent $970m to buy Twitch.tv, an online streaming platform that broadcasts video games and esports competitions.
Usmanov (pictured), who has an estimated net worth of around $14bn, is also a major shareholder in English Premier League football club Arsenal and president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE).