Sources: OpTic Gaming Lands Spot In League Championship Series; Dignitas Declined
Esports franchise OpTic Gaming will join the North American "League of Legends" Championship Series as one of the "newest franchise owners in the league," according to sources cited by Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com. The longtime and popular esports organization "received an investment" from a group led by MLB Rangers co-Owner Neil Leibman in the summer. With that investment the team "obtained" a Houston-based spot in the upcoming Overwatch League for a reported $20M and "applied" for the League Championship Series (LCS). OpTic will be "obligated to pay" $13M in franchising fees for the LCS. That includes a $10M "standard expense" -- with $5M of that "due up front -- that each team accepted into the new league will have to pay, as well as an additional" $3M for being a new team in the league. OpTic's "entrance costs for both" the LCS and Overwatch League will total $33M over the next few years (ESPN.com, 10/16). Meanwhile, Wolf cited sources as saying that esports franchise Team Dignitas will "not participate" in the '18 North American LCS season "following its franchising application being declined" by game developer Riot Games. Sources said that Team Dignitas was "not the only existing team in the league to be notified of its removal." Reasoning behind the declination has "yet to be disclosed." Team Dignitas will be "entered into a pool for compensation for an exit fee." Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Devils and 76ers, "acquired Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming" in September '16. Team Dignitas was the "first esports organization to be acquired by a sports team ownership group" (ESPN.com, 10/14). Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob recently purchased a franchise in Riot Games' new esports league (THE DAILY).