Instead of finding a documentary about Mickey Mantle or a replay of the 1998 World Series on the Yankees' TV Network next week, you might end up watching a match of H1Z1 or League of Legends. It's not just an offseason thing, either - the New York Yankees, baseball's most storied franchise, are betting on esports.
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It's been almost a year since retired NBA player Rick Fox purchased Gravity Gaming for $US1 ($1) million. Choosing to rename the organisation and expand it beyond its humble origins, Echo Fox was born, a burgeoning esport enterprise that seemed, in part, to signal a new era for competitive gaming. If Fox, who claimed earlier this year that in 2018, esports would be "on par with the NHL," saw his future fortune in the scattered tea leaves of professional gaming, maybe the hype was to be believed after all.
In a Saturday night game that shattered the records for "creep score" recorded in a pro match, Echo Fox and Dignitas played an exciting, sloppy, and quintessentially North American League of Legends match that demonstrated why the region is consistently entertaining and consistently disrespected. Neither team was competing for a good playoff seed, nor even a playoff berth. Instead, they were playing to avoid possible relegation to the Challenger Series at the end of this spring season.