NBA-Related Investment Activity Continues, SK Telecom Sponsors the LCK

NBA-related investment activity continues in esports, SK Telecom sponsors the LCK, and Fox Sports and Caffeine secure the media rights to FIFA esports.

Missed any of the biggest esports business news last week? The TEO Monday Morning Briefing recaps the top headlines from the last seven days!

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Meyers Leonard, the Weeknd Invest in Esports Teams

Portland Trail Blazers player and avid Twitch streamer Meyers Leonard announced that he has officially invested in FaZe Clan. Leonard has expressed support for the esports team previously by watching their streams and has been seen wearing a Brendan “Jaomock” O’Brien FaZe Clan jersey. Leonard held a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Thursday, at which time he spoke briefly about how he first became interested in FaZe.

OverActive Media (OAM), the parent company behind the Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant and the Splyce organization, has added R&B singer Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye as an investor and member of the ownership group. Tesfaye is a Grammy Award-winning artist and Toronto native, and has become the first global ambassador for the Defiant and Splyce. According to the release, OAM is planning “unique joint efforts” with Tesfaye during the current Overwatch League season.

Houston Rockets Will Reportedly Sell Majority Stake in Clutch Gaming

Philadelphia 76ers and Dignitas parent Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment has agreed in principle to acquire a majority stake in Clutch Gaming, the League of Legends organization owned by the Houston Rockets, for $20M USD according to a report by ESPN.

Through the deal, HBSE will own 68.2% of a new entity called Mal País which will own both Clutch Gaming and Dignitas. The Rockets will retain 31.8% ownership and receive $12.5M of the total $20M investment in multiple cash payments. Approximately $1.5M will reportedly go toward Clutch Gaming’s $13M franchise fee, of which $8M has been paid so far. The remainder of HBSE’s $20M will be used to fund team operations through 2021.

SK Telecom Obtains Streaming Rights to Riot Games Korea

South Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom signed a partnership deal with Riot Games Korea that includes broadcasting rights and the creation of exclusive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content.

SK Telecom will serve as the official sponsor of League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), the game’s top professional league in South Korea, until 2020. In February, SK Telecom announced a joint venture with Comcast Spectacor called T1 Entertainment & Sports, that includes management of the SKT T1 League of Legends team. As SK Telecom T1 is competing in LCK, SK Telecom’s sponsorship deal represents a potential conflict of interest.

FOX Sports, Caffeine Secure Broadcast Rights to FIFA Esports Events

FOX Sports has obtained United States television and streaming rights for the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019, along with “the finals of multiple EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series events. Additionally, live-streaming platform Caffeine has landed the global streaming rights for all FIFA 19 Global Series events along with the eWorld Cup.

Major Sponsorships and Partnerships

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive BLAST Pro Series held its April tournament in Miami last weekend, having added local partners to the event including Burger King, G FUEL, Vertagear, and first-person shooter (FPS) game training game Play Top Frag.

The Houston Outlaws Overwatch League (OWL) team has added San Antonio, Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B as its latest sponsor. The H-E-B logo will appear on the sleeves of Outlaws’ home and away jerseys and, in addition, the companies will create branded reusable grocery bags available at H-E-B stores in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

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