[toc]The New York Yankees are the latest professional sports power to take the leap into the burgeoning esports realm.
The Yankees and esports
The Major League Baseball franchise announced its partnership with Vision Esports, the largest individual shareholder of several esport-related companies. The partnership will serve to manage an “ecosystem” of esport properties.
The deal grants the Yankees a stake in Echo Fox, the professional esport franchise owned by former NBA player Rick Fox. Gaming analytic maestros Twin Galaxies and esport video production venture Vision Entertainment are now also a part of the blanket deal.
The New York Yankees will seek to accelerate the brand growth and awareness of all three companies.
“Guided by an impressively skilled and sports-savvy leadership team, Vision Esports is transcending the industry with a bold, innovative approach to their business, and we are excited to enter this dynamic arena as their partner,” said Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner and Co-Chairperson of the New York Yankees.
Traditional sports becoming allies with their digital equivalents is far from a new trend in esports. The gravity of the New York Yankees brand, however, generated a lot of buzz.
Legacy baseball franchise meets rising esports
The Yankees bring over a century of experience in sports and entertainment to the alliance.
The baseball franchise has a proven track record. George Steinbrenner’s purchase of the Yankees in 1973 for a humble $8.8 million has since evolved into a sports empire valued at more than $5 billion, according to Forbes.
The Yankees and Vision Esports aim to mirror this success with a fervent and nurturing guidance of all three esport properties in a fashion similar to its traditional sports counterparts. The Yankees will likely focus on maximizing revenue opportunities in:
- Ticket sales
- Broadcast rights
- Original content programming
“In every business, you are known by the company you keep, and we cannot be more pleased to be a part of the New York Yankees organization. We look forward to exploring synergies between the Yankees and all of our portfolio companies to maximize the opportunity for a successful esports ecosystem for teams, players and fans,” said Stratton Sclavos, General Partner of Vision Esports.
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Other potential advantages?
Major League Baseball’s video streaming and technology services company BAMTech may be a consideration within the partnership.
BAMtech — the genius behind MLB.TV’s streaming platform — also secured a deal with League of Legends developer Riot Games back in December for $300 million. It operates out of Yankee Stadium in New York.
Riot agreed to the pricey fee in exchange for streaming rights of League of Legends through 2023. That’s an esport that boasts an Echo Fox team. The deal doesn’t mention BAMtech anywhere. However, its residency in Yankee Stadium may present Vision Esports with an opportune chance to get involved.
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