PRO HOCKEY SLIDES INTO ESPORTS
TNL Take: We've seen a majority of European soccer clubs invest in eSports, the NBA taking the lead in the US and the MLS finally making its first move.
Now Pro Hockey is starting to slowly enter eSports - I so badly wanted to use "skate" but that's just awful. Ok, slide isn't that much better.
Either directly or through a consortium of sports investment, here's the history so far:
SEPTEMBER 2016: NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Devils majority owner Joshua Harris and investor David Blitzer - both of which are involved with the Philadelphia 76ers - bought 2 eSports teams, Apex and Team Dignitas.
SEPTEMBER 2016: WASHINGTON CAPITALS
aXiomatic, became a new eSports joint venture between a massive amount of sports investors and athletes including Peter Guber (Warriors, Dodgers, LAFC) and Ted Leonsis (Wizards, Capitals, Mystics, Valor, Verizon Center ) who bought a controlling stake in Team Liquid.
NOVEMBER 2016: IFK HELSINKI
Finland was the first country to make a direct investment when Helsinki based Hockey club IFK Helsinki launched an Overwatch team under the name Helsinki REDS.
FEBRUARY 2017: BOSTON BRUINS
Delaware North, parent company of Boston's TD Garden and home of the Boston Bruins - which is also owned by Delaware North chairman Jeremy Jacobs - announced a strategic investment with eSports team Splyce.
JUNE 2017: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Like other aXiomatic investors, Vinik is also involved in multiple sports properties including a minority owner of Fenway Sports Group (Boston Red Sox, LFC) and owns Arena Football team Tampa Bay Storm.
Just like the NBA has driven US Sports league investment in eSports, if a team doesn't have a standalone arena, they usually play in an NBA Arena (Ex: New York Knicks and New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden).
Why do Pro Sports teams invest in eSports?