The Kroenke family is well-known for owning some of the world’s biggest sporting clubs. But alongside owning high-profile outfits like Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal, the father and son pairing of Stan and Josh Kroenke has big esports plans.
They’ve now invested in franchised Overwatch League teams as well as the Call of Duty League.
The Kroenke investment details
These moves kicked off when Josh and Stan Kroenke met up with the head of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, in 2016. Kotick unveiling his vision for the Overwatch League and promised to deliver an esports tournament that mirrored existing traditional sporting tournaments like the NFL.
The franchised, city-based format offered an easy entry point for the Kroenkes. The fact that esports’ global reach could be 600 million made an impact on everyone attending the meeting. As a result, the Kroenkes made the move to pay the $20 million franchise fee for entering Los Angeles Gladiators in the Overwatch League. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots-owning Krafts bought the Boston Uprising team.
But the Kroenkes’ investment in esports didn’t stop there. They also bought a franchise in the Call of Duty League, which is due to launch next year. The franchise cost $25 million.
Esports in LA
The pair’s Overwatch and Call of Duty teams will both be based in Los Angeles. There is already a 6,000-person venue under construction in Inglewood. It’s located near the Rams’ 70,000-seat stadium.
What’s more, the Kroenkes have made no secret of their plans to host the hugely popular League of Legends World Championship at the Los Angeles stadium in the next few years. The LoL World Championship was recently held at the 80,000-seat Beijing National Stadium, and the Kroenkes clearly wish to pioneer the development of the biggest esports events to ever come to America.
The Kroenkes investing in esports is hugely significant. Seeing as Josh Kroenke is the heir to the Walmart family inheritance, investing at this time could mean a lot for esports’ future.