AEG Steps Further Into Esports With Immortals Deal
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Amplify.com | by Maggie O'Brien
AEG is kicking its esports interest up a notch by investing in Immortals.
The company announced in a statement this week it has made a “strategic investment” in Immortals, a successful and competitive North American-based esports franchise. As part of the deal, Immortals will host their Los Angeles-based tournaments at AEG’s L.A. LIVE complex, which is anchored by Staples Center.
“AEG prides itself on being a forward-thinking, innovative company and is committed to leading the way as the industry evolves,” Dan Beckerman, AEG President and CEO, said in the statement. “Expanding our interests in esports is a natural progression as we continue to invest in growth initiatives that further our leadership in sports and live entertainment. L.A. LIVE offers state-of-the-art venues, production facilities and an unparalleled fan experience, and we have ambitious plans for the campus to become the epicenter of esports in Los Angeles.”
The Immortals investment expands AEG’s esports initiatives. In September, the company entered a long-term global partnership with ESL, the world’s largest esports company. The agreement enables ESL to utilize AEG’s global network of more than 120 clubs, theaters, arenas and stadiums for qualifying events, tournaments and world championships, the statement said.
The deal with Immortals teams up AEG with Managing Director of Crosscut Ventures and Chairman of Immortals Clinton Foy and CEO Noah Whinston; global content leader Lionsgate and Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin; former financier and philanthropist Michael Milken; co-founder of Oaktree Capital and co-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies Steve Kaplan; Managing Director of March Capital Partners Gregory Milken; Third Wave entrepreneur Allen DeBevoise; Redpoint Ventures partner Brad Jones; former SVP and General Counsel at Activision Greg Deutsch; Machine Shop, the venture capital arm of the band Linkin Park; Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettenelli; and former Honest Company CEO Brian Lee.
“AEG’s unrivaled experience in the cross-section of sports and entertainment makes them an ideal partner for any organization. Combined with Immortals’ competitive success and passionate fan base, this partnership provides unique and appealing paths forward to achieve our goal of creating the most exciting and fulfilling esports fan experience in the world,” Whinston said in a statement. “
Immortals has built a reputation as one of esports’ top teams since its founding in 2015. Teams compete worldwide for more than 200 million fans in global tournaments including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Overwatch and Super Smash Brothers. Immortals’ global esports market generates more than $493 million in revenue with an audience of more than 115 million regular viewers. By 2020, the market is expected to grow to $1.5 billion in revenues, the statement said.
“Partnering with visionary sports and entertainment leader AEG is another giant leap forward for the Immortals franchise,” Levin said.