Brands have started investing heavily in eSports and they have been enjoying good returns.
Much of the investment is made by backing specific teams who play games competitively, including League of Legends, Apex Legends, Valorant, Fortnite, and Dota 2. London-based esports team Fnatic joined forces with Nielsen Sports & Entertainment to produce a paper outlining the return on investment within the world of eSports. One of the biggest names to invest in eSports is ABBA.
When considering what type of companies and brands would invest in eSports, there are many that come to mind. Online gambling companies are a good example and as the popularity of betting on professional eSports events continues to grow, the more gambling brands will want to get involved on the sponsorship side of things. However, for now they will have to be happy with providing odds for the events, with LoL betting being a good example.
So, where does ABBA fit in to all of this? Sweden has long been linked with eSports and millions of people in the country enjoy online gaming. Scandinavia has hosted some of the biggest eSports events on the planet going back to the 1990s. Sweden hosted DreamHack, the world’s biggest LAN party and computer festival and this played a significant role in the development of eSports. Sweden is now the home of some of the best paid eSports players on the planet, with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive being a good example. Christopher “GeT RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg are two legends of the game in Sweden who dominated the early years of CS:GO competitive gaming.
DreamHack, PGL Major Stockholm, Rainbow Six Siege Sweden Major, ESL One Stockholm, and Pinnacle Cup Championship are just some of the huge eSports events staged in Sweden. The government is still to recognise eSports as being a being an official sport and it was rejected by the Swedish Sports Confederation, who voted against it in 2021. Unfortunately, this resulted in The International Dota 2 Championship being moved from Sweden to another country because some of the players could not get visas to participate in the event. The International Dota 2 Championship is the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world and having to switch the event to a different country came as major blow to the development of eSports in Sweden.
Nonetheless, ABBA have not been deterred and the ABBA branding company Pop House Sweden, of which Björn Ulvéus and Conni Jonsson are majority owners, have invested in a new venue for eSports. Space will become the biggest dedicated eSport and gaming venue in Europe upon completion. Founded by Gustav Käll, Per Sundin and Lars Blomberg, the biggest investment in the arena has come from ABBA branding company Pop House Sweden. Spread over three levels and with approximately 5,000 square meters of space, the venue will be used for eSports events, gaming, concerts, and as a venue for start-up companies to develop.
In terms of gaming, there will be over 500 permanent gaming stations inside Space, with various set-ups allowing for several types of gaming. Space will be one of the biggest permanent gaming venues in the world and the opening of the arena could spark a change in the Swedish Sports Confederation’s thinking. If Space become popular and leads more Swedes to becoming professionals in eSports, whether it be as a player, presenter, game developer, or commentator, the pressure will increase on the Swedish Sports Confederation to include eSports.
Live musical performances and workshops will be available at Space and this is where ABBA may have an influence. Should they decide to perform at the venue, it will only increase the awareness of eSports and gaming in Sweden and across Scandinavia.
The CEO and co-founder of Space, Gustav Käll said, “At Space we strive to inspire and uplift communities, motivating the next generation.
“We aim to create a place for digital culture that connects human beings, a world where everyone can thrive in their creativity and have a stronger sense of belonging.”
Per Sundin, the CEO of Pop House, which is the group including ABBA said, “Sweden has a long history in leading tech and music innovations and providing a vibrant scene for the next generation.
“Space will serve as a leeway to transform culture and society at large, a place where beliefs, ideas and attitudes collide in a unifying force that will reset the status quo and transform tomorrow for generations to come.”
It is unlikely ABBA will have any direct involvement in the development of Space but the fact they are willing to invest in this type of venue is a huge boost for eSports, gaming, music, and technology in Sweden. We do not expect to see Björn Ulvéus playing League of Legends or Dota 2 anytime soon but to have the ABBA name behind the Space venture is a huge bonus.