The race to get into esports continues as two major teams receive investments from well-known companies and sports teams. In a statement released today, Immortals has received a major cash injection from broadcasting company Lionsgate, while the Miami HEAT have announced a “strategic partnership” with Misfits.
Lionsgate is no stranger to the world of esports, as they are currently partnered with the ESL and Microsoft to help with the future of competitive Halo, and have previously invested in mobile streaming platform Mobcrush. Talking about the investment, Immortals chairman Clinton Foy said that “what we’re doing today in eSports is like the early days of building the NFL and NBA. It’s not the evolution of games–it’s the evolution of sports, technology and media.” Immortals CEO Noah Whinston added that “Immortals and Lionsgate are both focused on developing new entertainment formats, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them at the cutting edge of eSports media.”
The Miami HEAT are following the new trend of figures and teams from the NBA-backing esports organizations, with Shaq being a joint owner of NRG Esports, Rick Fox owning Echo Fox–who recently launched a massive FGC offensive–and Renegades being managed by Jonas Jerebko of the Boston Celtics. In a statement released by the Miami HEAT today, the NBA team will assist “in all duties including marketing, branding, promotion, retail, digital and sponsorship activation on behalf of the franchise, and to cross-promote the HEAT and Misfits.” Speaking about this partnership, Misfits CEO Ben Spoont said that “this partnership will be the catalyst and foundation to our continued expansion of the Misfits organization into a global esports brand and company.”
OFFICIAL: HEAT Announce Strategic Partnership With esports Club, @MisfitsGG
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 10, 2017
With both Immortals and Misfits currently having a stake in Super Smash Bros. Melee, it stands to reason that both teams will be looking to expand into the greater FGC in the coming months, as seen by the massive landgrabs made by Echo Fox. As the esports landscape becomes full of these household names, you can expect to see more players breaking off from traditional FGC sponsors to ally behind the big bucks and brand recognition of teams like Echo Fox, Immortals and so on.