The Houston Outlaws Overwatch team is expected to be sold by Immortals Gaming Club. Although the $40 million deal isn’t final, Lee Zieben is the likely buyer.
A $40 million deal
The real estate entrepreneur has agreed to pay $30 million in cash. Then, Zieben will cover the remaining $10 million in debts owed to Activision Blizzard for Houston’s place in the Overwatch League.
Immortals acquired the Outlaws in June. That’s when they bought the Infinite Esports and Entertainment brand. But as the LA-based Immortals already own the league’s Los Angeles Valiant, they had to sell the Outlaws to a separate entity.
According to Activision Blizzard’s rules, no single company can own more than one franchise in the Overwatch League. Granted, Activision Blizzard still has to approve the $40 million deal. But it could go ahead as early as late-August.
Zieben is just one of many Texas entrepreneurs heavily invested in esports. Investors like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, oil magnate Kenneth Hersh, and the co-owners of the Texas Rangers have helped Texas-based esports organizations such as Mavs Gaming, Envy Gaming, Infinite Esports, and Complexity Gaming become heavy hitters.
These investments helped Texas become one of America’s most exciting places for esports tournaments and games. When Immortals bought Infinite Esports for $100 million in June, many feared the Lone Star State would lose its place as a competitive gaming hotspot.
Houston Outlaws’ activity in Overwatch competitions shouldn’t be unduly affected by the $40 million deal. Activision Blizzard had allowed Immortals to complete their initial acquisition of Infinite Esports so long as Immortals found a buyer for the Overwatch League team in due course.
Zieben’s purchase gives him control of one of the most popular teams in the Overwatch League. Although the Outlaws are currently languishing in 15th position in Stage Four of the league table, they remain a hugely profitable enterprise. Also important, they are still three places ahead of Texas rivals Dallas Fuel.
The fact that a real estate investor like Zieben would pay such a large sum for an esports team speaks volumes about how lucrative competitive gaming has become. The entire esports industry is expected to hit the $1 billion mark in 2019. Of course, it’s also slowly gaining mainstream acceptance. With the big-money sale of the Houston Outlaws, the value of famous esports teams is only going up.