Team Liquid’s ownership group, aXiomatic, was chosen as one of 11 companies to participate in the Disney Accelerator Program.
The program works in a way that the participating companies receive equity investments from Disney along with coaching from company executives and professionals and the potential to do future business with Disney itself. The 11 companies will also keep all intellectual property rights during the program’s period.
“This year, more than ever, we are working with companies with the potential to help define the future of media and entertainment together with Disney,” Michael Abrams, a senior vice president at Disney, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Business Journal.
aXiomatic is the investment company that formed last fall with noted sports figures Magic Johnson and Golden State Warriors co-owner and Mandalay Entertainment Group Chief Executive Peter Guber, among others, and the group bought a majority share in Team Liquid in September. The company recently invested $15 million into Super League Gaming, the amateur esports platform. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik joined aXiomatic’s list of investors last month.
This isn’t the first time Disney has had a hand in the growing industry of esports, albeit not directly. Riot Games signed a $300 million League of Legends streaming deal with BAMtech, which Disney owns, and Disney collaborated with Nintendo to broadcast its Mario Kart 8 tournament on Disney’s television network DisneyXD. Disney also owns ESPN, which operates an esports vertical.
EPIC Games, a game developer that made Paragon (and is partially owned by Riot Games’ owner, Tencent), is also one of the 11 companies to make the Disney Accelerator Program.
Team Liquid owns teams in multiple esports, including League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike and Dota 2. Its League of Legends team is probably the most well known as one of the longest standing teams in Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series, though the team has struggled mightily in 2017. Team Liquid fell into the relegation tournament in the spring split and sits in last place through five weeks of the summer split. Its Dota 2 team was one of six teams invited to The International 7, the event with the largest prize pool in esports every year. Its Counter-Strike team narrowly missed qualifying for the PGL Krakow Major.