In a research update to clients this morning, Goff maintained his “Buy” rating on theScore, but raised his one-year target price from $0.70 to $0.85.
This morning, theScore announced the the release of an app that allows users to follow the world of competitive online gaming, a space sometimes referred to as “eSports”. By downloading the app, which is now available in Google Play and will soon be available on the iPhone, enthusiasts can follow live scoring and breaking news from games such as Dota 2, Call of Duty, League of Legends and StarCraft 2, all of which boast established leagues.
Noting that more than 32-million viewers watched the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships, Goff says one of theScore’s advantages is that some of its competitors have a “surprisingly dismissive position” of the market. ESPN president John Skipper, notes the analyst, was recently quoted as saying “It’s not a sport—it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”
Goff cites a recent report from IHS Technology that says 2.4 billion hours of eSports were viewed during 2013, and that the market will be worth $300 million annually by 2018.
“With this move and the acquisition of Swoopt in December, theScore has aggressively redefined its target market entering complementary silos each of which could hold potential on par with its firmly established sports app,” says Goff. “theScore has the infrastructure, brand, following (~10M), cash (~$16M) and importantly the entrepreneurial culture laser focused (addicted?) to sports, gaming and gambling.”
Shares of theScore closed today up 13.8% to $0.66.