In what will likely be an Australian first, the AFL's Adelaide Crows have entered into an agreement to acquire Sydney's Legacy eSports team.
Esports is a burgeoning industry Down Under, and it looks like the Crows are about to capitalise on that, with their acquisition of League of Legends esports team Legacy.
In a post to the club's website, the Crows' chief exec Andrew Fagan noted the popularity of esports, and referenced Adelaide's particular interest in L.o.L.:
“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.
“Across the globe there are sporting clubs, billionaire investors and athletes becoming involved in esports with a view to growing their brand and reach, driving commercial outcomes and engaging with new fans.
“League of Legends eSports was the most obvious choice for our Club to get involved in, as it is one of the most developed eSports leagues in the region.
"We will bring our expertise in elite and professional sport to support the high performance development of the Legacy players who are driven to achieve success in their field."
Fagan continued to reinforce the club's stance on the acquisition, noting that it will be a very important part of proceedings in future.
“We will also devote resources to support the growth of the Legacy brand and their ability to engage effectively with their passionate fan base.
“Our traditional revenue streams are obviously strong, as evidenced through our record attendances, membership, corporate hospitality, sponsorship and merchandise return.
“While we will forever remain focused on our core objectives of winning football matches, we need to continue to diversify our activities and programs.
"Our investment in Legacy is obviously very different and new in this country but will become a very important part of our Club."
Daniel Ringland, head of esports at League of Legends developer Riot Games, had this to say:
"Not only are the Adelaide Crows the first ‘traditional’ sporting club to expand into the Oceanic Pro League, but they are a club built on both excellence in performance and dedication to their fans, which is why Legacy is the perfect partner for them going forward."
We look forward to seeing what more will come from this. Who'll be the next team to jump on board? It's a great move from the Crows, and is a reminder of how popular - and successful - esports is becoming in our region.