Nazara Technologies Announces Investment by ESL, The World’s Largest Esports Company (February 2018)
Feb 09, 2018

Investment will help expand footprint in emerging markets

Mumbai, 9th February, 2018: Nazara Technologies Limited (Nazara) today announced that ESL, the world’s  largest esports company has invested for a minority stake in the Indian company. Founded in 2000, ESL runs amateur to professional leagues, ranging from online tournaments through major global mega stadium events in venues around the worldy, distributing its content and original programming across digital and linear channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Sony Vue, Disney XP, and Hulu.

Additionally, ESL has signed a license agreement with NODWIN Gaming, the pioneer of esports in India (Source: F&S Report), which was recently acquired by Nazara Technologies.  As part of this, NODWIN Gaming secures multi-year exclusive licensing rights for the ESL system and ESL community platform for organizing and operating ESL competitions in India. NODWIN Gaming also secures media distribution rights of ESL global content to local linear and digital platforms in Indian subcontinent.

ESL hosts competitions around the globe to facilitate thousands of gaming competitions annually. Some of their more notable competitions include the following-  ESL  National Championship, ESL Pro League, ESL One and Intel® Extreme Masters.

Speaking on the advent of esports in India, Ralf Reichert, Co-Founder and CEO of ESL quoted “Our goal is to bring esports to the players and fans all around the world. We believe that Nazara, one of the leading mobile games companies will help us in expanding our ESL operations through strategic local partnerships.”

According to Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies, “We at Nazara welcome ESL to Nazara’s family of shareholders and look forward to partner with ESL to bring global games to India and other emerging markets.”

He further adds, “We believe that the partnership with ESL and NODWIN Gaming, will enable us to leverage the strength of global experience of ESL,  the execution experience of NODWIN Gaming and on ground networks of Nazara across different countries in emerging markets”

According to, NODWIN Gaming with the license for ESL for 5 years, CEO and Managing Director, Akshat Rathee, “Ralf & ESL team have been important supporters of Nodwin since many years and have witnessed the growth of Nodwin Gaming and esports in India. I hope that with Nazara and ESL, NODWIN will be able to successfully develop the esports business in the emerging markets where esports is one of the fastest growing sports.”

Nazara Technologies Limited has recently filed DRHP and has received investments from IIFL Asset Management recently. Nazara, with its existing investments in mobile gaming companies like NextWave MultiMedia, Mastermind Sports, Moong Labs and HalaPlay is in line with building a network of synergistic companies for operations in India  and other emerging markets across Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. Now with ESL’s investment in Nazara and NODWIN’s securing exclusive rights of using the ESL system and platform for the next 5 years, Nazara is poised to exploit the expected opportunity in the esports business.

About ESL

ESL, a part of the international digital entertainment group MTG, is the world’s largest esports company, leading the industry across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline competitions. It operates high profile, branded international and national leagues and tournaments such as the Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL National Championships and other top tier stadium-size events, as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems. ESL covers a broad field of services in gaming technology, event management, advertising and television production, fully catering to the needs of the esports ecosystem. With offices in North America, Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Spain, China, and partners in many other countries, it has a truly global footprint (

About NODWIN Gaming

NODWIN was founded by Akshat Rathee in January 2014 and Gautam Virk joined as a Co-founder. Rajan Navani additionally came on as an investor through Jetsynthesys. Nodwin Gaming is a pioneer of esports in India with established relationships with global gaming publishers and platforms including market leaders such as ESL and Valve.

NODWIN has the exclusive 5 year India licensing rights for its global partner ESL. NODWIN hosts and manages IP based gaming events such as the ESL India Premiership, The Dew Arena by ESL, KO Fight Nights.

Nodwin Gaming also partners with other brands to create multiple gaming events IPs in India, such as Indian Gaming Show and Asus ROG Masters.

NODWIN’s position in the nascent esports market in India can be judged by the fact that, Nodwin contributed 53.37% or over Rs. 10.00 million of the cumulative Indian prize pool for esports, in calendar year 2017. (Source: F&S Report)

About esports

Esports made it to the dictionary in 2015 as “A competitive tournament of video games, especially among professional gamers͟.” On an on-going basis, ESports companies host regular leagues and tournaments where professional players compete for large prize pools and also offer an opportunity for spectators for a holistic engagement. (Source: F&S Report).

In recent years, esports has become a sizeable market worth USD 748 million, the global esports market will reach USD 1.2 billion in 2018. [Source: Industry Insights for Online and Mobile Gaming in India, Frost and Sullivan, January 2018]; (Source: Newzoo). The popularity and growth of esports has had the effect that esports is now functioning like other professional sports leagues. Players are full-time professional players that are paid salaries by teams and trained by professional coaches. Professional teams are supported by sponsors and event organizers and operate the same way as major international football, basketball or cricket clubs. Major esportstournaments attract large audiences at esports venues and viewers (both online and on TV). Players/teams can win multi-million dollar prize pools at the top international tournaments. (Source: Industry Insights for Online and Mobile Gaming in India, Frost and Sullivan, January 2018); (Source: Newzoo)


Nazara Technologies Limited is proposing, subject to receipt of requisite approvals, market conditions and other considerations, to make an initial public offer of its equity shares and has filed a draft red herring prospectus dated January 31, 2018 (“DRHP”) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The DRHP is available on the website of the SEBI at as well as on the websites of the lead managers, ICICI Securities Limited and Edelweiss Financial Services Limited. Investors should note that investment in equity shares involves a high degree of risk and for details relating to such risk, see “Risk Factors” of the Red Herring Prospectus, when available. Potential investors should not rely on the DRHP for any investment decision.

The Equity Shares of the company have not been, and will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) or any other applicable law of the United States of America and unless so registered, and may not be offered or sold within the United States of America, except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act, and applicable state securities laws. Accordingly, the Equity Shares are being offered and sold outside the United States of America in offshore transactions in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Equity Shares have not been and will not be registered, listed or otherwise qualified in any other jurisdiction outside India and may not be offered or sold, and bids may not be made by persons in any such jurisdiction, except in compliance with the applicable laws of such jurisdiction.

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