Houston real estate investor Lee Zieben plans to acquire competitive gaming organization eUnited.
This news first surfaced in a report by the Houston Business Journal. But this isn’t the first time Zieben has invested in gaming. According to ESPN, he’s already signed a deal to purchase the Houston Outlaws franchise in the Overwatch League.
What does this mean for the esports industry?
Doubling down on esports franchises
eUnited is a relatively young team. Founded in May of 2016, it competes in a variety of different esports, including CS:GO, PUBG, Smash, and Smite. However, its most valuable asset is undeniably its Call of Duty lineup. eUnited’s CoD team made a splash at the 2019 Call of Duty World League Championship, claiming the trophy and $800,000 in prize money.
This is exactly why Zieben seems to be interested in the acquisition!
The real estate investor has reportedly filed an application for a permanent slot in Blizzard Entertainment’s upcoming Call of Duty League. In this case, eUnited’s championship-winning lineup could act as a solid foundation for the future Houston franchise. The Houston Business Journal also mentions that Zieben plans to build an esports-focused holding company. Hence, acquiring an esports team with established infrastructure could be even more valuable than appears at first glance.
More context on the CoD league
It’s worth noting that several prominent CoD teams won’t be participating in the Call of Duty League. For instance, OpTic Gaming was recently acquired by the Immortals Gaming Club, which has no plans to associate itself with the CoD scene. Meanwhile, 100 Thieves’ owner Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag went on record stating that the risks are too high to justify paying $25 million for a Call of Duty League slot.
Of course, this price tag doesn’t dissuade everyone. According to various reports, the Call of Duty League already includes nine city-based teams. And if the rumors surrounding the eUnited acquisition hold true, a 10th franchise is on the way.
Many high-profile investors are putting their money into CoD esports. Frankly, these aren’t people who often invite failure into their business dealings.
Image courtesy of eUnited.