Axiomatic Acquires Controlling Interest in Team Liquid, a Leading Professional Esports FranchiseSeptember 26, 2016 Via BusinessWire
WASHINGTON & LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Team Liquid, one of the most successful global esports team franchises, has announced the sale of the controlling interest in their team to a diversified and accomplished ownership group led by two renowned professional sports team owners, media and technology entrepreneurs – Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis.
Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens will continue as owners and in their respective roles as Co-CEOs of Team Liquid and will also serve as Directors. Guber and Leonsis will serve as Co-Executive Chairmen of their new esports ownership group, aXiomatic, and will be joined by a group of leading strategic partners in building their broad based esports enterprise. Bruce Stein, an accomplished executive from technology, content and consumer product companies will serve as CEO of aXiomatic.
Team Liquid has been one of the most recognizable forces in esports for the last 15 years and has built a reputation as an innovator in the industry while staying true to its roots in the gaming community. With more than 50 players competing on 10 different teams, Team Liquid competes at the highest level in global tournaments including StarCraft 2, League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Halo, Street Fighter, and SSBM.
“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.”
The global success of Team Liquid has continually attracted corporate brands seeking to align themselves with Team Liquid’s fan base and esports audience. Team Liquid’s current sponsorship partners include HTC, Quest Nutrition and Alienware among other industry-leading companies.
“Watching Team Liquid grow from a community site into one of the biggest esports teams in the world has been nothing but a joy for me, and this is just the next step in our growth,” said Goossens. “I am proud we share the same vision as this ownership group for the team and for esports as a whole, and I know that we will work well together.”
Guber is a major player in both sports and entertainment, serving as Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group and the co-owner of three professional sports teams: the 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors (NBA), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) and Los Angeles Football Club (MLS). Guber is an investor and Board member of Dick Clark Productions, which produces the American Music Awards and Golden Globe Awards. His Mandalay Entertainment Group continues to release major motion pictures to the global market each year and he also serves as Chairman/owner of Mandalay Sports Media.
“The key to our future success will be to bring the resources and resourcefulness of our ownership group to Victor, Steve and the team they built,” Guber said. “Ted, myself and the individuals that comprise our ownership group have an enormous wealth of experience and talents across virtually every major media and sports business category.”
Ted Leonsis is a nationally renowned entrepreneur, investor, and sports team owner. Leonsis is the Founder, Chairman, and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA), Washington Valor (Arena football) and the Verizon Center (downtown D.C.). Leonsis is the co-founder and partner of Revolution Growth, a $1 billion set of investment funds. Leonsis serves on the board of many of the Revolution companies, such as Bedrock Manufacturing, parent company of Shinola and Filson, Sportradar USA, CustomInk and Optoro, and he is on the board of several public companies, including American Express and Groupon.
“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.”
The CEO of aXiomatic will be Bruce Stein, an executive who has been CEO/COO of such companies as Mattel Toys, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Kenner Products (Hasbro) as well as several successful start-up companies.
“Ten months ago when we began this process our goal was to find the perfect blend of team and strategic ownership group to build a totally unique esports enterprise. With Victor, Steve and the intellectual, experiential and reputational capital of our ownership group we expect to win big in this dynamic space,” said Stein.
The investing co-ownership group includes:
- Monumental Sports & Entertainment – One of the largest sports and entertainment companies in the country, Monumental owns and operates professional sports teams such as the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, 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