Dayum. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re living in a time when history is being made. Philadelphia 76ers bought Dignitas. Just several hours later, news broke that Magic Johnson, one of the all-time greats of the NBA, together with business partners from aXiomatic, bought Team Liquid.
Yesterday, we saw an article about the reason why traditional sports people might want to enter the eSports scene. Today, two great entities from the traditional sports world bought two different eSports organizations. This is too exciting for words, the boost in legitimacy in mainstream society this could bring might be mind-staggering. Let’s try to control ourselves and discuss the press release, posted on BusinessWire, a website linked to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Company (to be clear, I’m not trying to imply that Warren Buffet has anything to do with the deal with Team Liquid.)
The press release starts off saying that, “Team Liquid, one of the most successful global esports team franchises, has announced the sale of the controlling interest in their team to a diversified and accomplished ownership group led by two renowned professional sports team owners, media and technology entrepreneurs – Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis.” The first thing that comes to mind is that Team Liquid will get a great influx of funds to get the best rosters possible for their numerous teams, competing in games like StarCraft 2, League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Halo, Street Fighter, and SSBM. Second, the whole venture will be more profit-driven from now on, even if it wasn’t before, which is doubtful, as it was always a business. Still, the sports know-how, mixed with Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens’ experience in the eSports world, the former owners of Team Liquid, could see the investment pay off.
That brings us to the second important bit from the press release. “Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens will continue as owners and in their respective roles as Co-CEOs of Team Liquid and will also serve as Directors. Guber and Leonsis will serve as Co-Executive Chairmen of their new esports ownership group, aXiomatic, and will be joined by a group of leading strategic partners in building their broad based esports enterprise. Bruce Stein, an accomplished executive from technology, content and consumer product companies will serve as CEO of aXiomatic.”
Who are Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis, however? Well, according to the press release, “Guber is a major player in both sports and entertainment, serving as Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group and the co-owner of three professional sports teams: the 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors (NBA), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), and Los Angeles Football Club (MLS). Guber is an investor and Board member of Dick Clark Productions, which produces the American Music Awards and Golden Globe Awards. His Mandalay Entertainment Group continues to release major motion pictures to the global market each year and he also serves as Chairman/Owner of Mandalay Sports Media.” Okay, seems like a serious dude with a lot to offer to Team Liquid’s efforts in eSports. What about Ted Leonsis?
According to the same release, “Ted Leonsis is a nationally renowned entrepreneur, investor, and sports team owners. Leonsis is the Founder, Chairman, and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA), Washington Valor (Arena football) and the Verizon Center (downtown D.C.). Leonsis is the co-founder and partner of Revolution Growth, a $1 billion set of investment funds. Leonsis serves on the board of many of the Revolution companies, such as Bedrock Manufacturing, parent company of Shinola and Filson, Sportradar USA, CustomInk and Optoro, and he is on the board of several public companies, including American Express and Groupon.”
The aXiomatic group has several business and sports people investing. The most famous of them all is the Hall of Fame NBA Superstar, Magic Johnson. For the rest, head to the press release here. It remains to be seen how this is going to work out, however, as stated in the beginning of this article, the combined knowledge and experience of the Team Liquid CEOs and the new majority owners, who come with some serious sports and business credentials, could push eSports into the spotlight never seen before. I sure hope that happens. Still, the scene has a lot of growing to do. I hope they don’t expect huge profits immediately, I hope they patiently work to grow the scene, being content to wait for it to reach its maximum potential and start paying dividends then. Obviously, all of these new investors see the potential that is there. Now, let’s hope they are patient enough to allow it to come into reality.