Miami Heat and Misfits Become Esports Partners

by Kevin Hitt

(Photo: Misfits)

The Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association have acquired a share in the multi-esport organization Misfits, it was announced on Tuesday. Although the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, the Heat will take over the marketing, branding, merchandising and promotional partnership between themselves and Misfits.

“The Miami HEAT pride ourselves on being innovative in all aspects of sports and business,” said HEAT Chief Executive Officer Nick Arison. “For us, it made perfect sense to partner with Misfits, a young and ambitious franchise in a sport that is blazing a trail in terms of 21st century recreational competition amongst Millennials.” 

The Misfits are a Miami based esports franchise built from the ground up by SyFy channel co-founder Mitchell Rubenstein and his son-in-law Ben Spoont, Founder of eSports Now LLC. The accolades the Misfits have already accrued are numerous. They are the winners of the first ever ELEAGUE Overwatch Open, ranked in the top five in Heroes of the Storm, and have a team in the League of Legends League Championship Series – a coveted spot.

“Misfits is thrilled to be partnering with the HEAT organization,” said Misfits CEO and Co-Founder Ben Spoont. “This partnership will be the catalyst and foundation to our continued expansion of the Misfits organization into a global esports brand and company. The HEAT -- innovators and leaders in traditional sports -- will help Misfits to unlock meaningful value across all facets of our business.”

The Heat is the second NBA organization to make a significant investment in esports, which industry analysts say will reach $750 million to $1 Billion in revenue by the end of 2017. The Heat join fellow NBA organization 76ers, who in September acquired a majority share in Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming, combining the two to the Dignitas brand.

Other NBA teams have invested into esports under various circumstances such as co-owners, Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov of the Sacramento Kings, who created their brand NRG Esports. Also, Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan has invested in Noah Winston’s Immortals. In September, Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards and Peter Guber of the Golden State Warriors, combined to create the investment group aXiomatic, which purchased the majority share in Team Liquid.