Joe Lacob, majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, has reportedly entered the esports world by purchasing a North American League of Legends Championship Series franchise.
It has been reported that Joe Lacob, along with his son Kirk Lacob, have been accepted into the league as new franchise owners. By making this purchase, Lacob becomes the latest high-profile major sports franchise owner to crossover into esports, as that group already includes several big names that have bought into the Overwatch League. In fact, Lacob is the one of a few officials from the Warriors to get into the field, as Peter Guber and Chamath Palihapitiya have previously been involved in esports-related transactions.
As part of their purchase, the Lacobs will reportedly pay a $13 million entry fee over the next several years. More from ESPN:
The Lacobs will be obligated to pay a $13 million entry fee for the League Championship Series over the next few years. That starts with an $8 million upfront fee; $5 million as the first installment and $3 million for not owning an existing franchise in prior League of Legends seasons.
The Lacob application was consulted on by Catalyst Sports & Media, its president Josh Swartz and its two esports executive vice presidents Bryce Blum and Avi Bhuiyan, sources said. Catalyst most recently consulted on deals such as the Hersh Interactive Group’s investment in Team Envy and the Madison Square Garden Company’s majority stake purchase in Counter Logic Gaming.
The application was earlier reported by SportsBusiness Journal.
The Lacobs are the first non-endemic organization to be accepted into the league, which will admit 10 total teams from a pool of applicants that include longtime League of Legends teams and non-existing sports owners, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, sources said.
Joe Lacob is part of the ownership group that purchased the Warriors in 2010. Under that group, the franchise has reached the NBA finals in each of the last three seasons, winning two league titles in that period.