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A Merger That Could Transform Entertainment

NEW YORK, Dec. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- What happens when you bring together the 'godfather' of motorsports racing and the media legend reshaping modern-day entertainment? A mega deal for an exciting new industry. And the answer to the most pressing question facing entertainment today: How to bring the entire world to every major global event without taking them anywhere. Mentioned in today's commentary includes: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Nintendo Co., Ltd. (OTCPK: NTDOY), International Game Technology PLC (NYSE: IGT), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)

The media legend is Tom Rogers, the man who brought giants like Netflix and Amazon to our TV screens, the first president of NBC Cable, the revolutionary who created CNBC and MSNBC, forever changing the world's coverage of business news …He's even landed in the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. 

The 'godfather' of motorsports and esports is Darren Cox, CEO of Torque Esports (GAME.V, MLLLD), former Global Motorsport Director for Nissan and mastermind of The World's Fastest Gamer. He's grown Torque into the leading company out there capable of connecting actual esports events and esports data.

They've announced the combination of 3 companies to dominate the gaming, eSports, news and streaming industry. The deal creates a gaming-streaming company by uniting Torque Esports Frankly Media and Roger's own WinView into Engine Media Holdings (ENGINE). 

It will forever change how we view sports because it combines Formula 1 madness with a streaming war and the biggest thing in data analytics for the streaming industry. 

Here are 5 Reasons to keep a very close eye on Torque (GAME.V, MLLLD) right now: 

#1 The Point Where This Segment Gets Transformed

Torque Esports is where Fortnite meets Formula One. It's a wildly exciting meeting point that most recently saw the conclusion of The World's Fastest Gamer 2019 with the winner taking home a cool $1 million. But that's nothing compared to what comes next in a sector poised to see revenues top $1 billion by the end of this year, and nearly $3 billion by 2022. 

Not only does Torque own Eden Games, the developers of the official Formula 1 racing game, but it also owns Stream Hatchet, a leading business intelligence platform that controls the data goldmine from Twitch and Youtube and is the key to potentially billions in ad revenue made off of esports fans. It's also set to acquire a controlling share in Allinsports, a leading provider of high-end esports racing simulators developed by ex-Ferrari engineers. 

Combine this with a state of the art esports arena for staging live global competitions in Miami--the first of its kind--and you have a company that's just expanded into multiple arenas with WinView and Frankly. 

Frankly Media is also another innovator on the scene, with its OTT streaming service and news content management tech. Frankly provides streaming services of live and on-demand news for major media outlets, such as CNN and VICE, with over 1200 local broadcast stations across the country. Frankly already reaches 75% of American households--and no one's even heard of it. 

And then we've got WinView, the brainchild of Tom Rogers, with an app that allows TV viewers to play games of skill in real time while they watch sports live on TV and win cash prizes. In typical Rogers fashion, WinView has 68 patents under its belt already, and another 1,200 patent claims for everything from mobile 'in play' games of skill and esports to live sports and the Holy Grail - sports betting. 

For Torque (GAME.V, MLLLD), the Formula-1 plus streaming darling of the esports segment, it means access to over 100 million active users. 

As CBS News' Lesley Stahl noted: "Rogers is a guy who gets things done … and he transforms companies along the way."

#2 The Moment of Truth for Live Entertainment

Today's rapidly transforming entertainment industry is about immersive experiences. It's about being there, without being there. 

Take AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), for example. With its acquisition of Time Warner Inc has launched the telecoms giant squarely into the esports arena. 

That $85-billion mega merger brought things like ELeague and Rooster Teeth into the AT&T fold. ELeague is part of Turner Sports, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia, which televises its major events.

Nintendo Co., Ltd. (OTCPK: NTDOY) is getting in on the boom, too. It just announced in August that it is partnering with Eleague to broadcast The Nintendo 2019 World Championships on CBS, and Eleague hosts a lineup of other popular competitive games including Rocket League, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Overwatch.

In a slightly different way, International Game Technology PLC (NYSE: IGT) is looking to follow suit. In July, IGT announced a deal with popular sports betting platform FanDuel. IGT will bring FanDuel's services to its existing platforms in markets across fifteen states.

IGT is about to roll out PlayShot, a new service for sports betters, which will utilize FanDuel's consumer-facing waging system, sportsbook.fanduel.com. FanDuel plans to leverage IGT's tech and its solid reputation to build its brand into the legal world of sports betting. And now, Torque (GAME.V, MLLLD) is looking to capitalize in its own way. Through ENGINE. From gaming to live media and even the development of new video games, it will be covered from every angle

#2 From $50B to $120B In Only 3 Years

Gaming revenue has tripled since 2000—rising from less than $50 billion to more than $120 billion per year.

This industry is now officially bigger than Hollywood. Major video game releases—Activision's Call of Duty or Square Enix's classic Final Fantasy VII—can cost tens of millions of dollars to produce.  Fortnite, a wildly popular third-person shooter, will have a prize pool of $100 million for its 2019 World Cup.

The four biggest esports events of 2018 generated 190.1 million viewing hours. The potential audience for esports in 2019 could be as high as 438 million people. 

Series 1 of World's Fastest Gamer was broadcast in 48 countries through 86 global broadcasters, including ESPN, CNBC and Fox Sports. The show reached an estimated 400 million households, and sponsorship came from McLaren F1.

Series 2 this year offered the biggest esports prize in history: A $1-million contract to the winner - James Baldwin - of the 10-day, 12-race California Dreaming finale.  And no expense has been spared when it comes to branding: Torque has recruited some of the biggest names in racing, including former F1 Team Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello and 2x Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya.

Through this premier esports event, Torque earns massive brand exposure and enhances its position with partners in the racing world, particularly the Formula 1 brand

#3 The High Street of Game Development

Torque (GAME.V, MLLLD) has acquired a video game developer—Eden Games, a racing game company that specializes in developing games linked with the Formula One brand. Eden's F1 Mobile game has already been downloaded 13 million times since its launch in September 2018. 

Through Eden, Millennial has access to a whole range of popular gaming brands, and partnerships with some of the biggest names in racing. In September it secured exclusive partnerships with Porsche and Nintendo.

Eden rolled out Gear Club Unlimited 2 in 2018, and plans to roll out additional racing games in the coming years across both Google's Android and Apple's iOS. And Stream Hatchet, the premier name in esports data analytics, can deliver what no other data firm can match—quality data on trends in esports and on-line gaming.

Right now, Formula 1 is gunning for another trophy—this time, with younger players. The average F1 fan is around 40 years old. The average Twitch audience is 21. 

Last year, F1 had an audience based of 1.758 billion, and 490.2 million unique viewers globally. That's a huge fan base, but it's nothing compared to Twitch, which boasted 9.3 billion hours of streams watched last year. 

Torque has just launched an F1 pilot program on Twitch, to blur the lines between real race-car driving and the gaming world for those billions of younger would-be players.  A 1.758 billion audience may soon look insignificant as this new generation enters the space. 

#4 A Definitive Edge on Streaming

The real coup here is Torque's (GAME.V, MLLLD) acquisition of data intelligence company Stream Hatchet. 

All of the biggest names in tech—Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, the gaming platform Steam—desperately need data from within the esports and streaming space in order to understand its trends and market to its customers. 

Just look at Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). It recently announced a move to compete with Amazon.com, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Twitch platform. While Twitch has been a dominate player in this scene for some time, Facebook is looking to gain some ground with an exclusive streaming deal with ESL, one of the world's largest esports leagues.  And it absolutely needs insights into how people are using its service if it wants to stand toe-to-toe with a giant in the industry like Twitch.

In other words, it's become strong player in data to the point that anyone in the industry who wants to grow their game may likely have to go through companies like Torque at some point. Stream Hatchet is a major player in the space, and will be very competitive when it comes to providing this data.

Twitch is a data gold mine. Every sports rights holder out there right now knows that Twitch is the number one outlet for their content. It's squeezing out all traditional channels. 

Stream Hatchet is a major player in this space and already has years of data in its arsenal. They're trying to corner the entire esports market for streaming data. And now they're taking on the sports and entertainment industries. 

#5 The Mega Deal Finish Line

Through World's Fastest Gamer and Eden, Torque has tapped into the Formula 1 market.  Through Stream Hatchet, it's created a system that secures it a top slot across multiple industries. Through the deal with Rogers, Torque has expanded into one of the most important markets on earth. Torque (GAME.V, MLLLD) has created a niche at the intersection of multiple massive industries.

By. Chris Marsh

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