National Basketball Association (NBA) star Kevin Durant, Odell Beckham Jr of the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball’s (MLB) St Louis Cardinals have all taken a stake in investment vehicle Vision Esports.
The news coincides with Vision Esports’ announcement that it has closed a US$38 million round of funding, and Durant, Beckham Jr and the Cardinals join the likes of MLB giants New York Yankees, who invested in the esports-only company back in October last year.
“We have been following the esports sector for several years,” said St Louis Cardinals vice president of business development Dan Good. “In the last year, we have gotten to know the team at Vision Esports and felt this was an exciting investment opportunity.
“In addition to the sector’s growth potential, we were impressed with Vision’s depth of experience that is applicable to the new esports ecosystem; including, Stratton Sclavos’ experience with the San Jose Sharks, Jace Hall at Warner Brothers Interactive, Chris Nordling at MGM Resorts and Mike Mossholder at the UFC.”
Vision Esports has also locked in investment from Shamrock Holdings, the private investment division of the Disney family, Seth Bernstein Capital Management and Simon Tikhman of First Access Entertainment. The company claims other individual athletes have also invested.
Stratton Sclavos, managing general partner of Vision Esports, said: “Our investors are some of the smartest and most accomplished names in sports and media and they share our passion, committing not only capital, but also their organisational resources and relationships in our quest to change the professional sports landscape.”
By closing the US$38 million capital raise, which was led by CAA-backed Evolution Media, Vision Esports has become the largest shareholder in the Echo Fox esports team, who boast more than 40 competitive gamers on their roster and compete in 12 leagues. Additionally, the company has also secured a majority stake in Twin Galaxies, a company which tracks video game world records, as well as esports content and live event producer Vision Entertainment.