The Philadelphia 76ers have officially announced on Monday that they are acquiring the eSports franchises Dignitas and Apex. Both of these teams will be merged into one organization and flow under the Dignitas name. The terms of the deal were not released. 76ers CEO Scott O’Neill confirmed that the acquisition was in the $5 Million to $12 Million range.
Dignitas will have full access to the 76ers support staff. This includes nutritionists, marketing, and even their sports psychologists. The organization is claiming that this will be the gateway that the eSports industry needed. They can promote eSports at live sporting events and get help obtain sponsorships with the power that their name holds.
This is the first time that a North American sports franchise has made an investment into eSports because of the industry’s infancy. Many large North American sports figures have invested into eSports already, but never has a full blown franchise done it. Current athletes like Roger Saffold of the Los Angeles Rams or Jonas Jerebko of the Boston Celtics have made major investments into eSports. Over in Europe, eSports investments are becoming a common thing for sports franchises. FC Schalke 04 is one of the more prominent investments.
Scott O’Neill says, “There’s no denying the fact that esports presents corporate America with a way to reach millennials in a way stick and ball sports just isn’t.”
Due to the merge with Apex, Dignitas will be guaranteed a spot in the League of Legends Championship Series next year. Plans to compete in Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are also in the works.