The Inception of Enthusiast Gaming
Menashe Kestenbaum, the founder and CEO of Enthusiast Gaming has been an avid gamer since a young age. His dream was to pursue a career in the gaming industry and Nintendo Enthusiast, the blog that Menashe started in 2011 posed the opportunity to do just that. He was able to surround himself with people holding a similar passion and attributes part of his success to connecting within the community, as it created a great formula for the creation of a company.
EGLX started in a casual environment at a local pub with 120 gamers who would attend every Sunday. The growth scaled to 400 attendees, creating a need for more space. The attendees grew to 1,700 people hosted in a convention centre, which then sparked the idea to continue in further growing and monetizing the event. Within a year 12,000 attendees broke the Canadian record of largest gaming convention, and the numbers continue to grow. In October 2018 over 30,000 people attended EGLX over the three day weekend and the expo sold out on Saturday, as the 100,000 square foot event hall reached capacity. EGLX has been exploding with celebrities and the involvement of large scale companies, all the while staying true to its roots with the local Toronto gaming community’s continued support.
The Industry In Which Enthusiast Gaming Operates
The market spans about 1/7th of the population or in other words, over 1 billion people are gaming. There’s a lot of money shifting from traditional media such as newspaper, radio and TV to online; with a big emphasis on gaming. The entertainment sector just in North America alone is $600 billion. Where as TV and movies once lead the industry, gaming has now far surpassed those numbers. Advertisers are starting to recognize the way that younger generations are consuming content and are starting to put more funds into this expanding market.
Enthusiast Gaming provides a prime example of the growth of the industry. A single blog that started out with $8,000 grew to a network of aggregated communities and $350,000 in revenue. A year later, Enthusiast Gaming generated $3.5 million in revenue and scaled quickly in order to support the growth. The scale only continues with over $1 million in revenue per month. With 75 million monthly visitors, Enthusiast Gaming is well positioned at the forefront of the expanding industry.
The Rise of the Esports Industry
Decades ago, Enthusiast Gaming had already pinpointed this opportunity. The passionate community was continually growing, and with technology creating an easier way for people to unite, Esports has been able to take people’s passion and grow it exponentially. Esports is now considered mainstream. Enthusiast Gaming is excited to have been involved before the mainstream shift with the support, recognition and resources provided by the entire community.
Enthusiast Gaming’s focus is primarily on blogs that appeal to niche gaming communities. Menashe quickly realized there were close to a million people within Enthusiast Gaming’s community which wasn’t being monetized well, largely due to the fact that gaming wasn’t yet considered mainstream. At that time, advertisers weren’t aware of the earning potential within this space. By uniting several passionate gaming communities, Enthusiast Gaming created a force that would better position the network to connect with advertisers and monetize strategically. The network grew to 85 sites with 75 million visitors and 12 billion ads per month. Currently, there is a huge volume of advertisers that approach the network with ad inventory that is constantly growing and undergoing continuous iteration and optimization for the best results possible.
Future Growth Strategy
90% of Enthusiast Gaming’s growth to date has been organic, but now the opportunity has presented itself to boost growth faster than ever. With Enthusiast Gaming going public, and through the support of investors, funds are available to support future growth plans through acquisition. The continuation of organic growth strategies are certainly a priority that will be amplified with a roll up strategy.
Listing on the TSX Venture Exchange
On Enthusiast Gaming’s going public, Menashe Kestenbaum comments,
“It’s just the realization that we’ve made it to a certain place as a company and as an industry. When we started this I was just in my room creating a blog, typing as a passion. When we started our events part of the company we were just at a local bar. To see it go onto the stock exchange, become validated by investors, through revenue and through the community, its something that I never could have imaged. I have been a passenger on this journey as this thing steers itself, with as much help as I can provide. The recognition of taking this to a whole new league is something that satisfies goals from my childhood, seeing where my passion has gone.”
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