The crossover between esports and traditional sports is becoming less and less unusual. Organizations such as the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Bruins (through Delaware North), the Milwaukee Bucks, Paris St Germain and Manchester City are a few examples of sports teams with their claws in esports.
Individuals have joined the esports trend as well as Jonas Jerebko, a player for the Boston Celtics, owns the Renegades while soccer legend Ronaldo has invested into CNB. Figures such as Shaquille O'Neal, Jimmy Rollins, and Alex Rodriguez have a stake in NRG Esports and proudly tout the organization.
Most recently, Fnatic received a financing round of over $7 million dollars with investors including the Owners of AS Roma and the Boston Celtics. Money like that will go towards infrastructure and giving players the support they need.
At no time is having a big name organization behind you a bad thing. In fact, we think that more sports teams should get involved with esports!
Toronto Maple Leafs
I know. The Canadian is putting a Canadian team first. Hear me out though as I dive through this with zero bias.
The Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL are a part of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, otherwise known as MLSE. MLSE owns the Leafs, the NBA's Toronto Raptors, MLS's Toronto FC, the AHL's Toronto Marlies and the NBA D-League's Raptors 905. MLSE have their hands in a bit of everything.
They've also got money, too.
The Raptors and the Leafs combined are worth over $2 billion.
MLSE also would have a ton of resources at their disposal. Instead of being able to offer just one arena or venue, they'd have access to four. The Raptors 905 play in the Hershey Centre outside of Toronto, the Toronto FC play in the beautiful BMO Field and the Marlies play in the historic Ricoh Coliseum. The big arena is where the Leafs and the Raptors call home. Within the confines of the Air Canada Centre the arena turns into a hockey rink and a basketball court overnight. It's also turned into an esports arena before as the ACC hosted the 2016 League of Legends Summer Split Finals.
Toronto loves new things. The city would immediately embrace the opportunity to support yet another team. Many esports bars are opening across town as well as retro arcade bars. Toronto has its fair share of esports fans.
The Legion of Boom could have a Legion of Esports (title TBD) if they're smart.
The Seahawks are no stranger to esports as former offensive tackle, Russell Okung (now with the Los Angeles Chargers) previously invested in an esports company called Matcherino.
If that name isn't big enough, one of the most talked about players and one of the most vocal players in Richard Sherman has previously expressed his interest in investing in esports. In 2016 he told ESPN, "[Esports] has grown so rapidly over the last couple years. I think everyone is starting to notice and pay attention. These guys are out here competing for $2 million [at the Call of Duty World Championships.]"
He also said, "I’m looking forward to seeing how that industry grows and maybe, maybe getting more involved."
Now is the time Richard. Convince the Seahawks to dive into the world of esports.
CenturyLink Field is massive and could be the home for many esports events down the road.
The Seahawks are filled with personalities throughout their roster that have a large presence. Starting with Sherman and going through players like Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks have their fair share of ambassadors that could gather a large following.
New York Knicks
It doesn't matter if the Knicks lose games on the hardwood. They still make a lot of money. In fact, they've been the NBA's most valuable team for the second straight year. They're worth a whopping $3.3 billion.
Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks call home, has gone under a huge renovation worth over $1 billion. MSG is also no stranger to esports. Recently hosting the semifinals of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, the venue was packed with people lined up outside just waiting to get in.
If you've ever been to a Knicks game, there's a good chance that you've been close to a celebrity as no sports team attracts more celebrities than the Knicks do. You'll see Spike Lee screaming from the sidelines half the time as the celeb cam pans over all the high profile stars that are there.
More NBA teams should be investing in esports around this time. With the announcement of the NBA 2K series teaming up with the NBA to create an eLeague, an NBA team could get ahead of the pack (ahem, the Knicks) with one single investment.