Immortals adds OpTic parent in historic $100M esports deal
Immortals Gaming Company has acquired Infinite Esports in what is believed to be the competitive video gaming industry's first $100 million deal.
IGC announced the agreement Wednesday, expanding its stable of esports teams by purchasing the parent company for OpTic Gaming. OpTic's franchises include teams in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and Overwatch League.
It's a move back into League of Legends for IGC, which lost its top-level pro club when publisher Riot Games moved to a franchising model in 2018. The LCS team will retain the OpTic name until rebranding to Immortals in 2020.
CEO Ari Segal told The Associated Press on Wednesday night it felt like a "welcome homecoming" for IGC to be back in the LCS fold.
"That's how it feels," Segal said. "That's how the community has responded. That's how our management team and our board has responded."
IGC already owns an Overwatch franchise, the Los Angeles Valiant. The company says it will manage OpTic's Houston Outlaws on an interim basis, with oversight from the Overwatch League, while trying to sell the franchise to another party.
IGC will also take over OpTic's Call of Duty World League team, but says it will divest its Counterstrike: Global Offensive team. IGC purchased Brazilian CS:GO club MIBR last year.
Segal said one of OpTic's most attractive qualities was its devoted fan base, known as the Green Wall.
"I feel strongly about connecting to high affinity fan bases and giving those fan bases reason to connect with content and experiences," Segal said. "There is no, literally not one, single community group in esports that represents a more attractive tapestry against which to do those things."
Infinite Esports' investors included Neil Leibman and Ray Davis, co-owners of baseball's Texas Rangers. They will become shareholders in IGC.
League of Legends publisher Riot Games and Overwatch League operator Activision Blizzard have both approved the sale.