In the past week, we had an NBA invasion in the esports industry, big news from a major esports franchise in Europe, and a little something to get you in the spirit for Worlds.
NBA co-owners now have controlling interest in Team Liquid
Team Liquid may not have Dardoch anymore, but maybe a former NBA legend can ball out on the Rift?
Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber has partnered with entrepreneur and Washington Wizards co-owner Ted Leonsis to take a controlling interest in Team Liquid.
Leonsis is also the owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which has controlling interest in the Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics, and the Verizon Center.
The investing co-ownership group will include basketball hall-of-famer Magic Johnson (also a Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner), AOL co-founder Steve Case, and more. (See below for a full list of the co-ownership group.)
Team Liquid co-CEOs Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens will continue on with their current roles while also serving as directors.
Goossens released a public statement shortly after the ownership change was announced:
I would like to take this opportunity to speak briefly about what this means for Liquid. An important message I wanted to communicate today is that Steve and I are both on long term agreements as Co-CEO’s of the company. In a way, our involvement in leading Liquid is even more assured now than when we were sole owners.
There is no place I would rather be than working to bring Liquid to greater heights together with our amazing staff and players. I’ve now put almost half of my life into Team Liquid, and I’m ready to begin a new chapter in the ongoing story of our presence in esports. Today I want to leave you with a message of reassurance that everything will be the same but better.
The new esports group will be called aXiomatic.
Below is a full list of the ownership group:
- Monumental Sports & Entertainment – One of the largest sports and entertainment companies in the country, Monumental own and operates professional sports teams, such as the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, and WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the AFL’s Washington Valor.
- Magic Johnson – Hall of Fame basketball player and serial entrepreneur.
- Steve Case – Chairman and CEO Revolution, co-founder of AOL.
- Donn Davis – Co-founder of Revolution and managing partner of Revolution Growth.
- Dick Glover – President and CEO of Mandalay Sports Media, former EVP of ESPN, former CEO Funny or Die.
- Tony Robbins – Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and life and business strategist.
- NextVR – Industry leading VR company specializing in live VR sporting events for FOX Sports, NBC Sports, HBO/Golden Boy, etc.
- Alan Shapiro – CEO of Dick Clark Productions.
- Mike Mahan – President of Dick Clark Productions.
- Lon Rosen – EVP, chief marketing officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Tucker Kain – CFO of Los Angeles Dodgers and managing director of Guggenheim Baseball.
- Rick Welts – President, COO of the Golden State Warriors.
- Brandon Schneider – SVP Business Development of the Golden State Warriors.
- Kirk Lacob – Assistant General Manager at Golden State Warriors, co-founder of imoji.
- Harry Tsao – General partner of Juvo Capital, co-founder of Juvo+.
- Paul Schaeffer – Vice chairman, COO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group.
- Jason Sugarman – Founder, chairman, CEO of Valor Group Holdings.
- Blake Byers – General partner of Google Ventures (GV).
- Chad Byers – Co-founder and general partner of Susa Ventures.
- Mark Scher – Founder, principal of Scher Investment Group.
- Jordan Rambis – VP Development IDW, tech/esports consultant.
- Fred Schaufeld – Managing director SWaN & Legend Venture Partners.
- Zachary Leonsis – VP and general manager of Monumental Sports Network.
- Eric Lefkofsky – Co-founder of Groupon, Innerworkings, Echo, Uptake Technologies and Lightbank.
- Brad Keywell – Co-founder of Groupon, co-founder and managing partner of Lightbank, CEO of Uptake Technologies.
- Lerner Enterprises – Managing principal owners of the Washington Nationals MLB team, owners of Lerner Enterprises.
- Tom Kartsotis – Founder, CEO of Bedrock Manufacturing (owner of Shinola and Filson), founder of FOSSIL.
- Russ Ramsey – Chairman, CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, co-founder of investment firm Friedman, Billings, Ramsey.
- Jeong Kim – Chairman of Kiswe Mobile; former president of Bell Labs.
- Mark Ein – Chairman of Kastle System, CEO Capitol Acquisition Corp, founder and owner of World TeamTennis franchise the Washington Kastles.
- Crane Kenney – President Baseball Operations for Chicago Cubs.
- Larry Barden – Chair, Management Committee at Sidley Austin LLP.
- Dhani Jones – Entrepreneur, investor, TV Host, former NFL linebacker.
- Tony Nader – Managing director SWaN and Legend Venture Partners.
- Paul Strauss – EVP Mandalay Pictures.
76ers acquire the rights to Dignitas and Apex
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it appears the 76ers have purchased both the Dignitas brand and Apex brand.
The NBA franchise is looking to merge the two under the Dignitas name while competing at next year’s North American LCS Spring Split with Apex’s spot.
WME-IMG, which recently purchased Ultimate Fighting Championship for $4 billion, represented Dignitas in the deal. Its current marketplace valuation is estimated between $5-$15 million.
Philadelphia 76ers Managing General Partner Josh Harris made an official statement on Team Dignitas’ website:
“The eSports industry is primed for incredible growth and we are thrilled to become an owner of such a storied franchise as Team Dignitas. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games.
We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.”
Fnatic and Spirit part ways
Dayun “Spirit” Lee was brought it to be the cornerstone of the new Fnatic team, proving that the organization could reach Worlds again without the likes of Reignover or Huni.
At last, the relationship between Fnatic and Spirit has reached an impasse after just one season together.
Spirit has officially left the team after a tough Summer Split. After finishing second at IEM, the team managed to only finish in third place during the EU LCS Spring Split.
In an official statement, Fnatic explained the reason for parting ways at this time:
“Moving into 2017, we are looking to significantly rebuild our team and the structure of Fnatic League of Legends, whilst Dayun wishes to take on exciting new challenges. Therefore, we have mutually agreed to part ways.”
Spirit is still a very talented jungler, his aggressive style just did not fit into what Fnatic wanted to accomplish.
The split should be helpful for both League of Legends teams, as Fnatic needs someone with a new voice and Spirit needs a clean break to start over.
Riot and Zedd release World’s Anthem
If you haven’t heard yet, Riot has dropped its new theme song for this year’s League of Legends World Championship!
The video montage displays some of the legendary moments in League of Legends history:
Anton “Zedd” Zaslavski is a Russian-German Grammy Award-winning producer, DJ, and musician.
He primarily produces in the electronic house genre, but has branched out, drawing influences from progressive house, dubstep, and classical music.