Streaming service Azubu allegedly lost the rights to stream League of Legends on its platform last year. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, streaming rights for the game increased to $3 million in 2016, up from $1 million.
The article explains the events surrounding Azubu’s troubled history, from its unorthodox investment methods to its recently departed CEO.
European oil and agriculture investor Lars Windhorst allegedly invested “upwards of $40 million” in Azubu through his firm Sapinda Group.It was in 2012 when Windhorst was first exposed to League of Legends, and the enthusiasm of the esports audience led to his investment in Azubu.
According to the report, Sapinda fed funds of “$1 million or so a month” to Azubu. The staggered funding led to unpaid vendors and “frustrated employees with late paychecks.” The company is now receiving new investments from a European hedge fund and a new CEO has been appointed; Mike McGarvey joined the company in May 2016, sporting a resume that includes his position as former CEO of Eidos Montreal. Since McGarvey joined the company, he’s cut monthly expenses “in half” and downsized from 75 employees to 50.
Azubu reportedly plans to announce the acquisition of Austrian streaming service Hitbox soon, which it bought out for “tens of millions of dollars in cash.”
Azubu is planning to relocate within Los Angeles and launch a new plan that includes new acquisitions and vertical integration. McGarvey allegedly plans for Azubu to become a strong competitor to Twitch and YouTube.
Yahoo Esports reached out to Riot Games, who did not provide comment on the $3 million figure.