NBA Investing in eSports Teams

There's a trend with NBA team owners entered into the world of eSports. Why the sudden interest in eSports though when the NBA is huge in professional sports?


After the 76ers added video gamers to their portfolio, CEO Scott O’Neil told SB Nation‘s Pete Volk that his team’s organization in the business of “manag[ing] professional sports teams at a very high level” and that it can bring “incredible value to this emerging industry.” In other words, it can make a bunch of talented gamers operate more like a NBA team that sells merchandise, gets broadcast on TV, and makes lots and lots of money.

After all, eSports already has massive tournaments that draw in huge audiences. The professional gaming industry is projected to bring in $493 million in revenue this year. Might we one day get as excited about LoL Worlds as we do about the NBA playoffs and March Madness? People who grew up spending more time on the Playstation than the playground may have very different ideas about which ‘great athletes’ they want to see compete.


Why are NBA owners in particular getting into this? It’s hard to say for certain. There are more ultra-wealthy NBA owners than in other leagues, but only barely: the league has 20 billionaire owners this year to the NFL’s 19, and the NHL’s 10. Ultimately, they are investors hoping that the booming revenues from the eSports sector will continue to boom, and they’ll get to reap the profits.