Basketball? Baseball? How 20th century. Today’s sports mogul is looking toward digital competition.
Team Liquid has announced that it has sold the controlling interest of its esports organization to an ownership group led by Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis. Guber is the co-owner of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA, the Los Angeles Dodgers of MLB, and Los Angeles Football Club soccer team. Leonsis runs Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Capitals NHL team, the Washington Wizards basketball team, the Washington Mystics women’s basketball team, and the Washington Valor arena football team. Now, they’re investing in an esports industry worth $493 million and growing. Intelligence firm Newzoo projects that esports will drive $1.1 billion in revenues by 2019, which makes the market ripe for investing.
Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame basketball player and Lakers icon, is also a part of the investing co-ownership group. Guber also runs the Mandalay Entertainment Group, which releases movies to global markets. He previously worked for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures. Leonsis is a co-founder and partner at Revolution Growth, a $1 billion set of investment funds. He was previously a senior executive at AOL.
This is also another example of groups, teams, and people associated with professional sports getting into the esports scene. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia 76ers became the first professional sports team in North America to own a competitive gaming team.
Team Liquid is one of the most recognizable names in esports. It operates teams for popular games like StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Dota 2. The group has 50 players competing on 10 teams.
Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens, who serve as co-chief executive officers of Team Liquid, will continue in those roles.
“In a way, our involvement in leading Liquid is even more assured now than when we were sole owners,” Goosens wrote on Team Liquid’s site. “There is no place I would rather be than working to bring Liquid to greater heights together with our amazing staff and players. I’ve now put almost half of my life into Team Liquid, and I’m ready to begin a new chapter in the ongoing story of our presence in esports. Today I want to leave you with a message of reassurance that everything will be the same but better.”