Report: Milwaukee Bucks co-owner buying e-sports franchise

Wes Edens
Gary Dineen

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Milwaukee Bucks co-owner and co-chairman of Fortress Investment Group Wesley Edens is buying into the North American League of Legends Championship Series, according to a recent report from ESPN.

Edens, 55, is reportedly purchasing Cloud9 Challenger’s LCS spot for $2.5 million, with four player contracts making up about $700,000. Sources didn’t tell ESPN what the future name or brand of the team would be.

“I knew (e-sports) would come to this but not this quick. It just goes to show how much money is about to pour into e-sports this coming year,” one source told SportTechie, who requested anonymity because of the pending deal, which still needs approval from Riot Games.

Earlier this fall, a handful of other NBA team owners and franchises joined the purchasing frenzy. The Philadelphia 76ers became the first U.S. professional sports franchise to purchase two e-sports franchises. A few owners, including Ted Leonsis, Magic Johnson and Peter Guber, acquired Team Liquid as part of a new ownership group, while Memphis Grizzles co-owner Steve Kaplan purchased a majority stake in eSports team Immortals.

Other sports owners, like the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dan Gilbert and Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross, have said publicly that they’re pursuing e-sports teams.

“We’re in the hunt right now,” Gilbert said on Nov. 4 at the Michigan Sport Business Conference. “It’s insanity.”

Just last week, the Houston Rockets became the first NBA team to hire an e-sports executive for its front office staff.

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