The financial details were not disclosed. But I hear that these franchises are now being sold for $40 million to $60 million. The initial investments by the original teams like Immortals were about $20 million per franchise, which enabled a company to field a team in a geographic territory. But the value of the League has gone up, and Activision Blizzard is now selling the franchises for more money. In this case, Immortals is selling the team to another party, so Activision Blizzard would not set the price. But the market value is clear.
Esports is generally considered a hot category, with hundreds of millions of fans now viewing esports regularly. Artist Capital Management announced a $100 million fund yesterday to invest in esports. They could buy about two or three Overwatch teams for that money.
“As ongoing owners in the Overwatch League through our Los Angeles Valiant franchise, we are thrilled to welcome Beasley Media Group, Caroline Beasley, Chris Roumayeh, and the entire Beasley/Team Renegades group to the Overwatch League,” said Ari Segal, CEO of Immortal Gaming Club, in a statement. “They have exciting plans to deepen the already strong connection between the Outlaws and the local Houston market and represent the ideal strategic owner for this asset. We would also like to thank Bobby Kotick, Dennis Durkin, Pete
Vlastelica, and the entire Activision Blizzard team for their help in facilitating this transaction.”
Immortals obtained ownership of the Houston Outlaws through its June acquisition of then-Outlaws parent company, Infinite Esports and Entertainment, with the intent to divest the franchise due to IGC’s existing and ongoing ownership of the Los Angeles Valiant, another Overwatch League franchise.
Activision Blizzard provided oversight and management of the Outlaws’ business and competitive operations during the interim period.
Cooley LLP acted as exclusive counsel to Immortals Gaming Club. Immortals still operates other teams for League of Legends, Clash Royale, Call of Duty League, CS:GO, and Rainbow Six.
Beasley Broadcast Group provides advertising and digital marketing solutions across the United States through its radio broadcast and digital operations.
Beasley’s acquisition of the Houston Outlaws again expands its role in the fast-growing esports space and reflects the company’s focus on premium esports programming and content.
Beasley’s other investments in esports include Team Renegades (investment in April 2019), an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan and CheckpointXP (acquired Fall of 2018), a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. CheckpointXP programming is currently featured on approximately 70 radio stations across the United States on the Sun Broadcast Network; on daily podcasts on Amazon’s video game streaming platform, Twitch; and, on CheckpointXP On Campus, the first collegiate-based esports show
in the US.
“The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform,” said Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group, in a statement. “The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services.”
She said the group’s experience with esports and the investment in a national esports content hub—BeasleyXP—are key factors in her belief that the company can get long-term returns.
“The Houston Outlaws have a fantastic new ownership team and we’re excited to welcome the Beasley Media Group to the Overwatch League,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports and Overwatch League commissioner, in a statement. “We look forward to working with them and ensuring a smooth transition for the team, the players, and the fans. Outlaws fans are incredibly passionate and 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the entire league.”