NFL Invests in Mobile Esports Platform Skillz


by in General | Nov, 22nd 2019

The NFL is in the news today, making some pretty serious moves with the esports platform Skillz. Through 32 Equity (NFL’s investment arm), this financial deal went down. We don’t know the details, but it does offer some exciting potential.

Kevin LaForce, VP of 32 Equity spoke out about the deal:

“There are over 2.6 billion mobile gamers worldwide, and Skillz is the largest mobile platform connecting players in competitive game play. We invested in Skillz because we believe the platform is driving the future of mobile entertainment, which is an area the NFL believes is critical to engage our fans in an increasingly connected world.”

They’re late to the party compared to other sports, but better late than never!

What Is Skillz?

Skillz is a program that makes their competitive gaming software available to app developers. The idea is that through them, you can make your mobile game capable of hosting live esports events. Twenty thousand game developers use Skillz, and that’s an excessive number to consider.

Those companies run more than 4 million tournaments a day. That is an incredible amount of esports at all levels. Many of the most popular Skillz games are pretty far away from what the NFL provides, too. Dominoes Gold, Bubble Shooter Tournaments, Solitaire Cube are pretty casual sounding games.

Conversely, there’s also Pro Pool – Ultimate 8 Ball and Strike! eSports Bowling. While I can’t talk about all 20,000+ developers that work with Skillz, I think the NFL could use this as a chance to stake their claim in the esports world.

The NFL is Better Late Than Never

The NFL hasn’t entirely done as much in the esports space compared to other sports. The NBA has the NBA 2K League, and MLS have the eMLS. Even the NHL has broken into the scene with the Washington Capitals’ new gaming initiative, for example.

Now sure, there are Madden tournaments, that’s nothing new. But I’m curious about what this deal will provide. Are we going to see mobile NFL titles breaking into the esports scene? The last thing I remember in major esports from the NFL was the Fortnite x NFL costume deal.

That, however, came with its form of controversy. Now, Skillz has a pretty serious system here, and they’ve had some significant investors in the past. That includes the NFL’s New England Patriots owner. The New York Mets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings have all invested in Skillz.

I wish we had more details on what this deal contained. Funding from the NFL is a significant deal. I cannot help but wonder if the NFL is working on some esports for American football. It is one of those “only time will tell” stories. But the NFL investing in esports technology is undoubtedly impressive. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

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