Basketball superstar Michael Jordan is the latest sporting legend to invest in esports, following in the footsteps of fellow NBA stars Rick Fox, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time is venturing into esports, becoming the latest investor in esports and video gaming company aXiomatic Gaming.
Jordan is leading an investor round worth $26 million into aXiomtic Gaming, the parent company of professional esports franchise Team LiquidAnother investor was Declaration Capital, the family office of Carlyle Group billionaire co-founder David Rubinstein.
Formed in 2015, aXiomatic Gaming acquired a controlling stake in Team Liquid the following year.
Team Liquid was established in 2000 and is now worth $200 million according to a recent Forbes valuation.
This would make the third-most valuable esports franchise in the world, just behind Cloud9 ($310 million) and Team SoloMid ($250 million).
Jordan, who invested thorough his family office, said this is his first step into the digital sports realm and diversifies his portfolio of sports brands, which includes ownership of NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
Curtis Polk, the managing partner and alternate governor of Hornets Sports & Entertainment, and manager of the financial and business affairs of Jordan and his related companies is also joining as an investor. AXiomatic, an alumnus of Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) 2017 accelerator program, said its latest funding will power more engaging esports experiences and strengthen existing partnerships, including Team Liquid, a global competitive esports team and esports media brand.
AXiomatic’s existing investors include another NBA Hall of Famer, Magic Johnson. Its leadership team includes co-Executive Chairmen Peter Guber, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden State Warriors; Washington Capitals/Wizards owner Ted Leonsis; Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik; and Oaktree Capital Management co-founder Bruce Karsh..
Founded in 2015, aXiomatic’s aims to establish holdings in esports through strategic partnerships, investments and acquisitions. The company connects esports groups with venues, technologies, media content, distribution partners and investment capital.