Philadelphia 76ers become the first NBA franchise to buy into esports
The NBA team now have a controlling stake in two professional eSports franchises, Team Dignitas and Apex, which they will merge under the banner Team Dignitas.
The 76ers will handle the day-to-day operations including player recruitment, marketing and sales for the team.
In a statement announcing the news the NBA team said: “The Philadelphia 76ers will directly manage the combined team under the name Team Dignitas and utilize their business expertise and vast resources to bring infrastructure and alignment to position these eSports teams for future growth."
— Team Dignitas (@TeamDignitas) September 26, 2016
Team Dignitas will compete in esports leagues including League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.
Team Dignitas founder, Michael O’Dell, said: "With these guys behind us, they’ve got lots of plans. Just having the backing of the whole group just means our players are going to have the ability to have everything possible to perform at the highest of their abilities.”
The Sixers are the first US team to buy into eSports ownership, however a number of former NBA players are popular figures within the the eSports scene. Former Lakers star Rick Fox purchased a League of Legends team late last year, renaming it Echo Fox and expanding it into a number of other leagues while Shaquille O'Neal is a part owner of NRG eSports.