One of Australia's most established sporting clubs, the Adelaide Crows AFL club, tonight announced that they have "entered into an agreement" to acquire Legacy Esports.
The announcement, which first appeared on The Age before being publicised in a press release and on the Adelaide Crows website, says that the investment by the club "follows overseas sporting leagues, teams and individuals investing in esports in the past 18 months".
"It is hugely popular with millennials and there are enhanced opportunities for current and new corporate partners to engage with younger, digital and social media savvy audiences," Andrew Fagan, chief executive of the Crows, said.
Legacy Esports is best known locally for their presence in the Oceanic Pro League, the top tier of competition in League of Legends. Legacy's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team regularly makes appearances in the final stages of local tournaments though, and the team also has prominent teams in the Rocket League and SMITE scenes.
The Age also reported that the Adelaide Crows were in talks to buy another team:
It is also understood the Crows were in discussions for some months with at least one other professional Australian eSports team regarding an acquisition deal. The Crows and Legacy eSports would not reveal how much the deal was worth but it is understood to be a six-figure sum.
The release from Riot didn't mention other games, however, and the post on the Adelaide Crows website only stated that Legacy "boasts a number of semi-professional and amateur line-ups which are skilled in other well-known games".
Perhaps the most important element will be the expertise the Crows bring to esports by way of performance training. In the post, Crows CEO Fagan said the club would introduce their "expertise in elite and professional sport to support the high performance development" of the Legacy team, as well as devoting "resources to support the growth of the Legacy brand and their ability to engage effectively with their passionate fan base."
The deal comes after the AFL announced plans to run an esports tournament at Etihad Stadium. Darren Birch, general manager of growth, digital and audiences for the AFL, said then that the code wanted to "have the ability to generate a broader appeal for clubs and be able to bring more sponsors, revenue and consumption" whether that was through sporting contests, or esports.