The New York Yankees made a major investment in esports, the team revealed today. They’re now stakeholders in one of the most well-known North American esports team organizations: Echo Fox.
The New York Yankees announced an investment in Vision Esports today, a company that holds stake in three different esports organizations including Echo Fox. Echo Fox, founded by three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, has teams competing in League of Legends, Call of Duty, H1Z1, and a handful of fighting games.
Along with Echo Fox, the Yankees’ move includes investments in Twin Galaxies (a community that logs video game world records and player rankings, mostly for old-school arcade games) and Vision Entertainment (a company that produces scripted and unscripted esports videos).
Together with Vision Esports, the Yankees will help manage the behind-the-scenes aspects of these companies, which includes “seeking to maximize revenue opportunities for advertising, sponsorships, media and broadcast rights, merchandise and ticket sales, naming rights and original content programming for both broadcast and streaming distribution formats.”
It’s similar to situations with other traditional sports teams who have invested in or outright purchased esports team organizations, like the Philadelphia 76ers did with Team Dignitas in 2016. While the teams tend to operate as usual in terms of player management and their coaches, the larger traditional sports teams help ramp up sponsorships, merchandising, and other ways of optimizing revenue.
The extent of the Yankees’ investment was not revealed in the press release.
The Yankees are just another team in a growing list of traditional sports teams investing in esports over the last year and a half, which includes owners and higher-ups at teams like the New England Patriots, the New York Mets, the Miami Heat, the Golden State Warriors, and a handful of individuals including NBA champions Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson, current NBA player Jonas Jerebko, and MLB World Series champion Alex Rodriguez.
The New York Yankees are one of the first MLB teams to make a major investment in esports, and given the trend of traditional sports teams investing in esports, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more MLB teams following in their footsteps.