Sixers ownership buys two eSports powerhouses.
The Philadelphia 76ers have officially purchased controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex, two eSports franchises that are regarded as "powerhouses"- which is more than anyone can say about the 76ers.
Sixers ownership has plans to merge Team Dignitas and Team Apex under the Dignitas name, with Team Dignitas manager Greg Richardson acting as chairman of the combined team. The Sixers ownership will take care of all the day to day management including sales, marketing, branding and publicity.
"We aim to be the most dominant, winning franchise across the [esports] space," Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil told ESPN in an interview about his team's new venture. "I think having the opportunity to put some real resources behind an unbelievable, rapidly growing property which will be amazing."
"In a space that's changing rapidly, to have a solid, strong, confident voice in ODEE was really comforting," O'Neil said. "He approached the partnership with a very long-term approach like we did, very focused on understanding that the landscape changing as rapidly as it is. He was was looking for a partner capable of bringing real resources. He was looking for partner with whom he could build a dominant, championship-winning team."
The new Team Dignitas will reportedly compete in League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.
The move to acquire these franchises makes the Sixers the first professional organization in the four major sports to dive into the realm of eSports. Some European soccer clubs like Manchester City, West Ham United and Valencia CF have all purchased their own digital sports teams but this is uncharted territory for U.S. teams.