In another monumental sale this morning, a group of investors led by Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis has purchased a controlling interest in esports powerhouse Team Liquid. This comes only 27 hours after Dignitas announced its sale to the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was only a matter of time before investors in traditional sports and tech came into the esports space. With many favorable predictions about the growth of esports and its potential to overtake traditional sports in both viewing numbers and key demographics, it is catching the attention of big names. Both sales have been a long time in the making, potentially thanks to a meeting with the NBA board of governors about the growth of esports around this time last year.
The importance of these acquisitions can not be understated. Not only will these investments bring in the capital required to bring in all the best resources for the players but, the franchise experience from many of the investors is invaluable. Many may view these as strictly monetary investment, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Liquid posed its sale as exactly the opposite, a strategic partnership. In growing esports franchises to mirror their traditional counterparts, it is one thing to emulate our forefathers, but something else entirely to be able to work with them on a day-to-day basis. Last year we saw new teams like NRG and Immortals enter the mix by starting from the ground up and building their own brands with mixed success. This week’s acquisitions should let us know by the end of 2017 which method is more successful and will mark the path for others to follow.
While esports fans continue to talk about using billionaire money to acquire the best talent in their respective games, I’m much more excited for the business aspect of acquisitions. Shaving years off the growth period for these organizations means we could be seeing many exciting new crossovers and marketing opportunities as early as next year.