The Video Game Entertainment & News Network, or VENN, is a new post-cable esports network set to launch in 2020, with aspirations to compete with major operators such as the Electronic Sports League and Cheddar Esports.
VENN announced Tuesday, September 17, they had already raised $17 million in seed funding to launch their project, which will be led by co-founders Ben Kusin and four-time Emmy winner Ariel Horn, who previously worked as the global head of esports content at Riot Games.
The company plans to provide 24/7 broadcast of gaming streams, talk shows, documentaries, live esports events and more, with all the content said to be produced from the studios in New York and Los Angeles.
VENN has already secured broadcasting deals with YouTube and Twitch, with expectations to be available on mediums like Roku and Sling.
With 55 hours of the original programming provided each week, VENN is looking to create something akin to MTV for the gaming generation, which is expected to be greeted with open arms by hundreds of thousands of esports fans from all over the world.
“We’ve been polishing our craft on global stages for years while dreaming up new ways to create memorable esports broadcast experiences,” said Horn in a press release.
“VENN will bring together the best and brightest talent to apply the same creativity and big-picture thinking to greater gaming and entertainment content, building a bridge from our industry into the world that surrounds it.”
The ambitions of this new esports content network have caught the attention of some heavyweights in the gaming industry, many of whom have already made a sizeable investment in the project.
While the exact amount invested by each individual and companies remains a secret, known contributors include Jens Hilgers (CEO and co-founder of DOJO Madness and esports chairman of G2 Esports), Marc Merrill (co-founder of Riot Games), YuChiang Cheng (president of TopGolf Media) and Mike Morhaime (co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment).
“I’m proud to support the team at VENN on an exciting new milestone for digital entertainment,” said Morhaime.
“Having a central location for high-quality content from across the industry is an important foundational step for gaming communities.”
The list of investors also includes venture capital firm BDMI, Reimagined Ventures and aXiomatic, the parent company of Team Liquid.