After Luminosity’s merger with Enthusiast Gaming in September 2019, the esports organisation’s accounts were made public, providing us with a rare look at how esports organisations are making their money.
Esports brands are often a closed book when it comes to trying to view this information, but Luminosity’s accounts show us some very interesting aspects to how they do business and just how profitable esports actually is. In a fascinating Twitter thread by investment advisers Roundhill Investments, excerpts from Luminosity’s accounts reveal a number of things, but the most striking is that approximately 65% of their revenue in 2018 came from streaming, particularly in Fortnite. This may come as a surprise to those who see Luminosity first and foremost as an esports-orientated brand.
The thread goes on to highlight that Luminosity’s streaming contract had expired at the beginning of 2019, meaning they were now making no money from their streamers. The resulting gulf in revenue from Q1 of 2018 to Q1 of 2019 speaks for itself: just over a million dollars.
It’s now common place for top esports teams to have a small army of streamers and content creators (think FaZe Clan or 100 Thieves) and it seems as if they could be what is actually keeping these organisations afloat, rather than revenue from esports endeavours.
1/ Luminosity Gaming was profitable in 2016 and 2018. It generated a loss in 2017. pic.twitter.com/GbX32RhWYS
— Roundhill Investments 🎮 (@roundhill) November 12, 2019
Even with all the streaming revenue, Roundhill’s breakdown of Luminosity’s accounts does also show that in 2016 they made a very healthy profit of over $840,000, yet the year after they posted a loss. Then in 2018, even with the streaming revenue coming in, they managed to make a profit of just $180,000.
While esports is often labelled as a super profitable, rapidly growing industry, it does show that it is still a tall order to try and make a profit.
It seems that while esports viewership and sponsorship increases, organisations like Luminosity appear to be dependant on revenue from streaming and content creation in order to survive.