NBA franchise Philadelphia 76ers announced today after they entered Esports following the acquisition of traditional organisation Team Dignitas and NA LCS side Apex Gaming, for an undisclosed amount.
Moreover, it was announced that the new organization will keep operating under Dignitas’ name, which means that one of the founders of the NA LCS will be back to North America’s premier league after being relegated this Spring.
“We are excited to become leaders in making the future of eSports even brighter,” said Philadelphia 76ers’ David Blitzer. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with such an experienced and respected group of entrepreneurs to provide Team Dignitas with the resources it needs to join the ranks of elite competitors. Adding eSports to our portfolio will provide us with many new ways to extend and strengthen our existing sports brands and grow championship caliber franchises.”
“The attractiveness of this deal is as much about the people as it is the opportunity,” stated the franchise’s CEO Scott O’Neil. “Bringing together gaming industry luminaries including Greg Richardson, Michael O’Dell and David and Michael Slan puts us on track to build the most respected and dominant franchise in the eSports space, spur fan engagement and reimagine corporate sponsorship to create a vibrant, global e-arena where the greatest players in the world aspire to compete.”
Richardson, with a background in the video gaming industry will be the chairman of Team Dignitas: “We intend to build a fan-first team that aspires for excellence in all aspects of the business from attracting premier playing talent to building out merchandising, sponsorships and broadcast rights,” said him, before adding that “The eSports market was started and built by its players and fans, creating one of the most vibrant and passionate communities anywhere. Dignitas embraces the unique origins of eSports and looks forward to working closely with its community to take the industry to the next level.”
Michael O’Dell, founder of Dignitas also reacted: “This is a landmark day in eSports history and for this franchise,” said him, who will serve as General Manager of the organization. “Entering into a partnership with such a strong organization will give us an undeniable advantage in attracting the world’s best players and an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Our connection to the legendary Philadelphia 76ers brand and business organization will be a differentiating factor for Team Dignitas as we enter the next phase of our development.”
Over the past years, Harris and Blitzer have been responsible for the acquisition of several clubs and franchises, including the 76ers themselves, the New Jersey Devils from the NHL, and Crystal Palace, from the Premier League in England.
The 76ers become thus the second “traditional” sports organizations to fully acquire a LCS team, following German Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04, who entered the scene after they purchased EU LCS side Elements in May. However, the team were relegated on their maiden season from the EU LCS, but claimed that these “results will not affect (their) involvement with League of Legends and Esports.