UMG Media to acquire esports event company, Activate Entertainment

The deal will close in the next 30 days and will see Activate become part of UMG. Activate's president, Chris Iaquinta, talks with GameDaily about Activate's growth and what this acquisition means for the future.

UMG Media has entered into a deal to acquire esports event company, Activate Entertainment. This deal, which is a full acquisition, will close within the next 30 days after both companies have been working together on a variety of projects for about a year. 

GameDaily had a chance to speak with Activate's president, Chris Iaquinta, over email about the acquisition. 

"We've been working with UMG on various projects for going on over a year now, and as we progressed on one activation after another, it became more and more apparent that there was an opportunity present to mutually benefit both companies by joining forces rather than just helping to amplify each others efforts on a case by case basis," Iaquinta said. "Once we entered official talks, the entire agreement was settled over a single lunch and we went to contract soon afterwards -- a great testament to the professional infrastructure the UMG brings to the table."

Founded in 2012, UMG Media is a publicly traded company on the TSXV in Canada and trades under the symbol ESPT. As of July 2019, UMG Gaming had their user base grow from 70,000 to over 2 million. There have been 18 million matches played through the platform, which include daily tournaments, individual cash matches, and season ladders. The vast majority of these matches are cash-based and have, in total, paid out over $3 million to tournament winners.

 “Bringing Activate into UMG will greatly expand the services and expertise of UMG in the esports event management side of the industry," commented Dave Antony, CEO of UMG, in a statement. “Being able to add the experience of Chris and Dirk will be invaluable as UMG expands.”

Iaquinta echoed Antony's statement: "UMG and Activate Entertainment compliment each other perfectly, and provide significant strength to what we would consider to be the weaker points of our business model. It was time to scale Activate's capabilities at a rate that would have been difficult to do quickly on our own, and this merger will allow the process to escalate at light speed."

Activate is a fairly new company, having only been around for less than 16 months. In those months, Activate was busy pulling together events like Esports Experience at the National Advertising Broadcaster Show and helping non-endemic brands like Panasonic break into esports.

"My partner, Dirk Hagen, and I formed Activate less than 16 months, pulling from our combined event and production experience that combines for over 40 years, with the plan to focus purely on event activations," Iaquinta continued. "But once we saw a need for premium livestream and broadcast support for the majority of the industry, we expanded our business accordingly. Our pedigree of producing AAA events in a wide variety of entertainment mediums for four decades has definitely set us apart from similar entities in the space that primarily have esports/gaming-only experience when it comes to their production history. By pairing this expertise with UMG's strong brands, tournaments and IPs, it will lead to the ability for us as a company to provide true 360 turnkey service."

By combining Activate's extensive experience in events and esports activations with UMG's reach, both digitally and physically, UMG Media is setting itself up to incorporate the ever-important "live event" piece of the esports puzzle.

Updated 8/7/2019

For more stories like this one delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to the GameDailyBiz Digest!

Editor-in-Chief

Amanda has been meandering around the game journosphere since 2010, mostly covering indie games, culture, and industry news. These days, she talks about the business of making games through a critical cultural lens. She adores RPGs, weird narrative indie games, and strategy games that take forever to learn. Amanda is also the editor-in-chief of SuperParent. You can find her on Twitter as @AmandaFarough or you can email her at amanda.farough@gamedaily.biz.

GameDaily Connect Sponsors
Partners