Beasley Media Group 375

Expanding its foray into the fast-growing competitive video gaming space, Beasley Media Group has purchased a minority stake in eSports organization the Detroit Renegades. The investment makes the Renegades a strategic media partner to Beasley, which last year launched Beasley XP, a new division focused on eSports.

Acquired in September, 2016 by NBA superstar Jonas Jerebko of the Golden State Warriors, the Renegades organization fields teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Paladins, Vainglory, and Super Smash Bros. The group is building a new facility in Detroit, where Beasley sees potential synergies with its local radio stations, especially young male-targeted active rock WRIF (101.1), which has promoted Renegades events.

“ESports is a totally different category than what we typically see in traditional media,” CEO Caroline Beasley told Inside Radio. “We see this as a partnership that allows us access to new revenue streams,” a topic that Beasley has been talking about with investors on its recent earnings calls.

The investment creates opportunities for Beasley to share in ticket and sponsorship revenues. In Detroit, the plan is to co-promote eSports events with its radio stations and bundle sponsorships into its offering to advertisers.

Beasley also sees eSports as a ticket to increased engagement with younger generations who are the sport’s most passionate fans. “This helps us gain access to Gen Y and Gen Z and that access is via online,” Beasley explained. “Just as many companies are investing in podcasting, this is another area that we see growing significantly. And it’s a natural extension of what we’re doing. We can promote and organize events and it becomes another spoke in the wheel of our offering for advertisers and our audiences.”

The world of competitive video gaming has become a fast-growing international phenomenon with millions of fans. According to a report from Newzoo, a market analytics company, 380 million people worldwide will watch eSports this year. In early October Beasley bought the internationally syndicated eSports gaming lifestyle show, “Checkpoint Radio.” The company will be promoting its Beasley XP division to the eSports community at next week’s NAB Show, where there is a dedicated “Esports Experience” exhibit floor area in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. And Beasley interviewed Jerebko during the latest episode of her Beyond the Business podcast.