LOS ANGELES: NBA icon Michael Jordan is branching out into eSports, investing in the parent company of Team Liquid, aXiomatic. Jordan, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls and now owner of the league’s Charlotte Hornets, is making his first foray into the burgeoning world of eSports.
He was one of two new investors announced on Thursday by aXiomatic, along with Declaration Capital, the family office of Washington DC-based billionaire David Rubenstein. According to Forbes the investments were part of a $26 million funding round.
“I’m excited to expand my sports equity portfolio through my investment in aXiomatic, eSports is a fast-growing, international industry and I’m glad to partner with this great group of investors,” said Jordan, who joined his fellow Dream Team teammate Magic Johnson as an aXiomatic investor, as is Ted Leonsis, owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards as well as the NHL’s Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
“The next generation of sports fans are eSports fans,” Leonsis told ESPN in a statement. “ESports is the fastest-growing sector in sports and entertainment, and aXiomatic is at the forefront of that growth.” In 2016 aXiomatic acquired a majority stake in Team Liquid, one of the oldest and most popular teams in eSports with more than 60 competitive gamers based out of Los Angeles and the Netherlands.
Team Liquid teams compete in a number of eSports titles, including League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike. The NBA is involved with eSports with its NBA 2K League, which involves 21 NBA team affiliates.