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Zwift raises US$120 mil to grow esports, plans national championships

Zwift is making big moves to expand the competitive environment in the world of the online riding platform

Online social activity platform Zwift has received a US$120 million injection in cash after closing a round of funding led by London-based venture firm Highland Europe. The money will be used to set up an esports league and expand the platform’s offerings in other sports as reported by Bloomberg.

Zwift has changed the way people ride indoors giving cyclists an online world in which to train, race and interact with one another. Setting up Zwift doesn’t have to be too complicated either making it an attractive alternative to spinning the old fashion way.

The investment will give Zwift the funds needed to set up an esports pro cycling league called the KISS Super League according to Zwift’s co-founder and CEO Eric Min. Zwift has been announcing the professional cycling teams that will participate in this league. So far the list includes Team Wiggins, Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes, Hagens Berman Axeon, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka U23, Madison Genesis, Hincapie and Oliver’s Real Food Racing.

Zwift sees creating an esports season as beneficial for the current state of pro cycling. Min said it would create additional opportunities for sponsors to gain exposure, and provide athletes with more training and competitive opportunities year round, especial during seasons when there are no road races.

In addition to expanding the competitive cycling offerings on Zwift, the Long Beach, California based company will expand it’s treadmill offerings for runners and could expand into other sports such as rowing. Right now Zwift is only offered in English but Zwift has plans to also expand it’s language offerings.

The news of the investment comes after British Cycling announced a two-year partnership for Zwift to become the programs official training community. That will include an inaugural British Cycling eRacing Championships which follows a UCI announcement to create an eSports World Championships.

“Wearing your country’s national stripes is a huge honour, but relatively few ever get the chance to compete,” Min explained. “But that is not the case with the British Cycling eRacing Championships, powered by Zwift, as everyone in the country is eligible to throw their hat into the ring. We are looking at dates in February and March 2019, so now is a good time as ever to start training and keep in shape this winter.”

The British championships will be comprised of a qualifying round that then leads to a live final event between the top riders. The multi-event format will include short races like time trials and elimination races. The winner of the competition will be awarded a national champions jersey that can be worn while riding on Zwift.