North American League of Legends team Gravity Gaming has recently been purchased by former Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers star Rick Fox.
Fox has bought Gravity, one of the bigger League of Legends (or "LoL") teams, for an unspecified amount. A few weeks ago, The Daily Dot reported that the team was sold for $1 million, although it was not disclosed who the buyer is at that time.
The three-time NBA champion is apparently no stranger to this world since he has been in partnership with Twin Galaxies, a game record-keeping institution, and has made donations to a fundraiser for competitive gaming. Because of the purchase, Fox becomes the most decorated athlete to venture into the eSports industry. Under the new ownership, Gravity Gaming will be re-branded as "Echo Fox"for the upcoming season.
Developed and published by Riot Games, League of Legends is the most popular video game when measured by game-play, according to Bloomberg, citing a report from Baird. Over 27 million people watched the League of Legends World Championship last year. That is more than the 19.9 million who watched the 2015 NBA Finals. The live LoL competition drew 11,000 fans to Madison Square Garden in New York for the title event.
While Gravity Gaming did not qualify for the 2015 League of Legends World Championships, it did make the top six in LoL's 2015 spring term and finished fourth in the Summer split.
"As a professional athlete, businessman and proud member of the gaming community, I see the way that the eSports world is growing and I know we are on the verge of something massive. The opportunity to parlay my experience in sports, entertainment and gaming into a leadership role with Echo Fox is exciting and humbling," Fox mentioned in a formal press release.
Moving on from eSports, the developer of the popular multiplayer game itself has just been completely acquired by China-based Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. The company owns WeChat and QQ, two of the Asian country's most widely used mobile messaging service.
In 2011, Tencent purchased a majority stake in the gaming studio but the financial details of the transaction were not divulged. A Wall Street Journal report claims that prior to the deal, the Chinese company owned 93 percent of Riot's stakes.
The deal that transfers Riot Games' full ownership to Tencent has been "quietly" announced in a recent post on the developer's website that explains the changes on how Riot will compensate its employees. The post reads, "As part of this effort, our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games. This allows us to move away from a Riot equity program towards a cash-based incentive program that allows Rioters to share in Riot's success."
Aside from WeChat and QQ, Tencent also owns 40 percent of Epic Games, another video game developer known for its "Unreal" series of first-person shooter games as well as the Gears of War series for the Xbox 360.