The Philadelphia 76ers, an NBA team has made history by being the first professional sports team in North America to acquire a whole eSports team. According to ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers have acquired both Dignitas and Apex with Apex joining the Dignitas name. The double purchase guarantees spot in the League of Legends Championship Series.
76ers CEO Scott O’Neil said
We were smart enough to know what we didn’t know.
This is a landmark day in eSports history and for this franchise. 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.
Philadelphia 76ers Managing General Partner Josh Harris commented
The eSports industry is primed for incredible growth and we are thrilled to become an owner of such a storied franchise as Team Dignitas. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games. We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.
As O’Neil knew what he didn’t know, he hired in Greg Richardson, an executive who has had a career in consumer tech and video gaming and will oversee the project.
The market created itself and became a product that a quarter billion people are watching, and when they watch, they’re watching an hour and half a day, but at the same time, it’s an incredibly large, immature market that is somewhat of a Wild West.
Previously, German football team FC Schalke 04 picked up League of Legends team, Elements. Manchester City and West Ham have previously signed eSports stars, as has Bundesliga team Wolfsburg.
The details of the acquisitions of the two teams were not disclosed.