Paris Saint-Germain, one of the largest association football clubs in the world and certainly the wealthiest in France, has become the latest in a spree of recent traditional sports investors into esports, as first reported by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf. French online media company Webedia has purchased Team Huma’s spot in the League of Legends European Challenger Series for “approximately $70,000” and will compete next split as Paris Saint-Germain eSports.
One of PSG’s opponents in the Challenger Series will be FC Schalke 04, the German association football club that bought Elements’ EU LCS spot last split before being relegated to the Challenger Series, the second-tier league in Europe.
Other recent traditional sports investors into esports include the Philadelphia 76ers, owners of the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards, former NBA player Rick Fox and current NBA player Jonas Jerebko. Other European association football clubs like Valencia CF and Beşiktaş have purchased teams in their own national leagues (Spain and Turkey, respectively), while PSG and Schalke 04 stand alone in the European league.
Huma was banned from having a team in a Riot Games-affiliated league after repeated failures to pay players on time, and had been forced to sell its spot. ESPN reports Huma’s former owner will use the money from the sale to pay back his former players.
PSG can make its way to the EU LCS by winning the Challenger Series and the ensuing promotion tournament — assuming Riot doesn’t change the promotion/relegation rules.