Last week, the New York Yankees announced plans to join the esports community. By investing in Vision Esports, the most famous and successful baseball team in history will be directly involved in esports, alongside companies like Echo Fox, Twin Galaxies, and Vision Entertainment.
Managing an ecosystem of esports properties
The partnership between Vision Esports and the Yankees will have the two organizations working above multiple others. These include:
- Echo Fox, the esports organization founded by Rick Fox in 2016;
- Twin Galaxies, a company focusing on video game performance validation and player rankings;
- Vision Entertainment, an esports content producer.
“The New York Yankees are thrilled to partner with Vision Esports and its diverse portfolio of esports companies,” said Yankees Managing General Partner and Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner. “Guided by an impressively skilled and sports-savvy leadership team, Vision Esports is transcending the industry with a bold, innovative approach to their business, and we are excited to enter into this dynamic arena as their partner.”
Applying the Yankees’ marketing, sales, and partnership experience to Vision’s properties provides a roadmap for growth. Additionally, the companies will seek to expand business relationships in a variety of areas.
“The New York Yankees brand is synonymous with success, and we are thrilled to welcome the organization to the Vision Esports team,” said Vision Esports General Partner Stratton Sclavos. “In every business, you are known by the company you keep, and we cannot be more pleased to be a part of the New York Yankees organization. We look forward to exploring synergies between the Yankees and all of our portfolio companies to maximize the opportunity for a successful esports ecosystem for teams, players and fans.”
Using know-how from traditional professional sports
According to the news release, the two organizations plan to use a leadership approach similar to what’s found in traditional sports.
Vision and the Yankees will seek revenue-maximizing opportunities in a variety of areas. These include advertising, sponsorships, media and broadcast rights, merchandise and ticket sales, naming rights, and original content programming for both broadcast and streaming distribution formats.
Given the ongoing growth in esports’ popularity, creating unique and compelling content will be in the forefront of the strategy for attracting millennials, who have an appetite for competitive gaming content.
Last but not least, the partnership will also see the Yankees and Vision Esports collaborate on marketing and sponsorship initiatives.
The landscape of sports investing in esports
While traditional sports franchises “partnering” with esports organizations is nothing new, a name like the New York Yankees doing so still makes waves. There have a been a number of lower profile entries into esports as well.
Echo Fox, owned by the NBA champion Rick Fox, currently holds 10 teams that compete in 12 professional esports leagues. The titles include League of Legends and Call of Duty, two of the biggest games in the current esports landscape.
There’s been no lack of other traditional sports personalities and organizations jumping on the esports train in the recent past. Earlier this month, NFL stars Marshawn Lynch and Michael Strahan joined the NRG family.
In January, the Miami Heat announced a strategic partnership with Misfits. Their teams currently compete in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Overwatch. Furthermore, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Teams Dignitas in 2016.
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