Just a day after the announcement that the Philadelphia 76ers had become the first North American sports team to own an esports team, we’ve learned that one of the heaviest hitters in esports, Team Liquid, has gone the same route.
Announced today via Team Liquid’s official site, the multi-game esports organization — with top competitors in League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive — has sold controlling interest to Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber and Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. The investing co-ownership group also includes NBA alum Magic Johnson and AOL co-founder Steve Case.
“The key to our future success will be to bring the resources and resourcefulness of our ownership group to [Team Liquid co-founders] Victor [Goossens], Steve [Arhancet] and the team they built,” Peter Guber said in a statement. “Ted, myself and the individuals that comprise our ownership group have an enormous wealth of experience and talents across virtually every major media and sports business category.”
Ensuring the longevity of a field like esports will almost certainly require a high level of investment from the overarching sports and athletics industry, which likewise sees esports as a market into which to extend a brand and corner a new, younger customer base. Team Liquid’s acquisition only represents the most high-profile instance of this to date.
“The recognition that esports has received over the past few years has been awe-inspiring, and the hobby that our fans and I share can now be counted among the biggest competitions in the world. This partnership will give our current and future players opportunities that I could only dream of when we started,” said Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet. “The goals I share with Victor have changed — they are now a lot bigger, and a lot bolder. There are very exciting times ahead, and we’re all going to take this to the next level together.”
Team Liquid will almost certainly put in a strong appearance at next month’s League of Legends World Championship, a good opportunity for the team’s co-owners to show off their new partnership. We’re likely to see some bigger changes down the road as well.
Disclosure: Zam and League of Legends developer Riot share a corporate parent. Riot has no control over our editorial.