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Magic Johnson, other NBA figures purchase esports franchise Team Liquid

Big money keeps flowing into esports.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

North American esports franchise Team Liquid has sold a controlling interest in the team to a group of major investors under the ownership group aXiomatic, the team announced in a press release Tuesday. Among the major names in the investment group are NBA Hall of Famer and co-owner of the Dodgers Magic Johnson, co-owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals Ted Leonsis and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber.

The announcement follows the acquisition of esports franchises Team Apex and Team Dignitas by the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday. Other traditional sports figures with investments in esports include Rick Fox, Shaquille O’Neal, and Jonas Jerebko.

Team Liquid co-CEOs Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens will continue to serve their respective roles with the organization and also serve as Directors, according to the release.

"I will always be a fan at heart - a gamer who fell in love with League of Legends. I followed that heart and built a team that is now shaping the future of esports, but there are still so many opportunities that we want to explore," said Arhancet. "With our new ownership group leading the charge, I am certain that we can grow from a premier esports team to a powerhouse sports entertainment franchise."

Leonsis is the Owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center.

"Steve and Victor impressed me with all that they have done with Team Liquid and I am truly excited to work with the best people across a broad spectrum of businesses to create a unique esports enterprise," said Leonsis. "This company has the potential to create all new experiences for esports audiences worldwide."

Here’s a list of some of the bigger names in the investment group, from the release:

  • Monumental Sports & Entertainment - One of the largest sports and entertainment companies in the country, Monumental own and operates professional sports teams such as the NHL's Washington Capitals, NBA's Washington Wizards, and WNBA's Washington Mystics and the AFL's Washington Valor
  • Magic Johnson - Hall of Fame basketball player and serial entrepreneur
  • Steve Case - Chairman & CEO Revolution, Co-Founder of AOL
  • Donn Davis - Co-Founder of Revolution and Managing Partner of Revolution Growth
  • Dick Glover - Representing Mandalay Sports Media and their current President and CEO, former EVP of ESPN, former CEO Funny or Die.
  • Tony Robbins - Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and life & business strategist
  • NextVR - Industry leading VR company specializing in live VR sporting events for FOX Sports, NBC Sports, HBO/Golden Boy, etc.
  • Alan Shapiro - CEO of Dick Clark productions
  • Mike Mahan - President of Dick Clark Productions
  • Lon Rosen - EVP, Chief Marketing Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Tucker Kain - CFO, Los Angeles Dodgers and Managing Director, Guggenheim Baseball
  • Rick Welts - President, COO of the Golden State Warriors
  • Brandon Schneider - SVP Business Development of the Golden State Warriors
  • Kirk Lacob - Assistant General Manager at Golden State Warriors, Co-founder of imoji
  • Harry Tsao - General Partner of Juvo Capital, Co-founder of Juvo+
  • Paul Schaeffer - Vice Chairman, COO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group
  • Jason Sugarman - Founder, Chairman, CEO of Valor Group Holdings
  • Blake Byers - General Partner of Google Ventures (GV)
  • Chad Byers - Co-founder and General Partner of Susa Ventures
  • Mark Scher - Founder, Principal of Scher Investment Group
  • Jordan Rambis - VP Development IDW, tech/esports consultant
  • Fred Schaufeld - Managing Director SWaN & Legend Venture Partners
  • Zachary Leonsis - VP and General Manager of Monumental Sports Network
  • Eric Lefkofsky - Co-founder of Groupon, Innerworkings, Echo, Uptake Technologies and Lightbank
  • Brad Keywell - Co-founder of Groupon, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Lightbank, CEO of Uptake Technologies.
  • Lerner Enterprises - Managing principal owners of the Washington Nationals MLB team, Owners of Lerner Enterprises
  • Tom Kartsotis - Founder, CEO of Bedrock Manufacturing (owner of Shinola and Filson), founder of FOSSIL
  • Russ Ramsey - Chairman, CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, co-founder of investment firm Friedman, Billings, Ramsey
  • Jeong Kim - Chairman of Kiswe Mobile; Former President of Bell Labs
  • Mark Ein - Chairman of Kastle System, CEO Capitol Acquisition Corp, Founder and Owner of World TeamTennis franchise the Washington Kastles
  • Crane Kenney - President Baseball Operations, Chicago Cubs
  • Larry Barden - Chair, Management Committee at Sidley Austin LLP
  • Dhani Jones - Entrepreneur; Investor; TV Host; Former NFL Linebacker
  • Tony Nader - Managing Director SWaN & Legend Venture Partners
  • Paul Strauss - EVP Mandalay Pictures