The New York Yankees are investing in professional video gaming or eSports. The baseball team has made an undisclosed investment with Vision Esports, the largest single shareholder of three esports-related companies. The two organizations will create and manage an “ecosystem” of esports properties that include Echo Fox, Twin Galaxies, and Vision Entertainment.
The New York Yankees and Vision Esports hope to accelerate the growth and increase the global brand awareness of the three companies – Echo Fox, a leading professional esports organization founded by three-time NBA Champion Rick Fox; Twin Galaxies, a one-of-a-kind League Operator considered an authority on performance validation, statistics and skill indexes; and Vision Entertainment, a studio that creates esports-specific content for scripted and non-scripted platforms.
Vision Esports is led by General Partners Stratton Sclavos, Jace Hall and Chris Nordling. Vision Venture Partners is the owner of Vision Esports, a private equity firm based in Beverly Hills.
“The New York Yankees are thrilled to partner with Vision Esports and its diverse portfolio of esports companies,” said Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner and Co-Chairperson, New York Yankees. “Guided by an impressively skilled and sports-savvy leadership team, Vision Esports is transcending the industry with a bold, innovative approach to their business, and we are excited to enter into this dynamic arena as their partner.”
The Yankees will bring their considerable marketing, sales and partnership experience to help all three companies accelerate their growth and expand their business relationships.
The Yankees and Vision Esports leadership will mirror management of the three esports properties in a manner very similar to traditional professional sports properties. This philosophy includes seeking to maximize revenue opportunities for advertising, sponsorships, media and broadcast rights, merchandise and ticket sales, naming rights and original content programming for both broadcast and streaming distribution formats. In addition, the Yankees and Vision Esports will collaborate on marketing and sponsorship initiatives across assets.
“The New York Yankees brand is synonymous with success, and we are thrilled to welcome the organization to the Vision Esports team,” said Stratton Sclavos, General Partner, Vision Esports. “In every business, you are known by the company you keep, and we cannot be more pleased to be a part of the New York Yankees organization. We look forward to exploring synergies between the Yankees and all of our portfolio companies to maximize the opportunity for a successful esports ecosystem for teams, players and fans.”
Echo Fox was formed in January 2016 by three-time NBA Champion Rick Fox, and the organization currently consists of 10 teams in 12 competitive gaming leagues. Echo Fox teams compete in League of Legends, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Vainglory, and H1Z1 pro leagues. It boasts the world’s best Fighting Games team competing in the Street Fighter, Injustice 2, Smash Brothers, and Tekken professional circuits.
Twin Galaxies is the recognized authority for video game performance validation and player rankings. It is a trusted source for player statistics, skill indexes, and certified world records in all gaming categories. In October 2017, it announced a new Pro League Division to create, govern, and operate new professional esports leagues in partnership with leading video game publishers.
Vision Entertainment is a producer of original esports content, in both scripted and unscripted formats. It currently broadcasts five weekly/daily esports or competitive gaming shows on Facebook Live, to reach a combined audience of more than two million.