Clutch Gaming’s ownership at the Houston Rockets has agreed to sell a majority stake in their League of Legends esports team to Dignitas parent company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
HBSE will own 68.2% of Clutch Gaming, while the Houston Rockets will retain the remaining 31.8% stake. Ownership of the team will be shared between the two companies through a newly created entity named Mal País. Clutch Gaming will also be rebranded to Dignitas later in the year, according to an ESPN report.
Dignitas CEO Michael Prindiville will head Mal País, backed by a board comprised of HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil, HSBE Ventures partner Chip Austin, and former Electronic Arts vice president Greg Richardson. The board will be led by David Abrams, who serves as the head of investments and strategy at HBSE. Mal País is currently valued at $47.5 million.
Prindiville expressed his frustration that Dignitas’ attempted entry as a franchise into the 2017 League of Legends Championship Series was rejected. The acquisition and rebranding of Clutch Gaming might change that.
“How do we get back there? It’s aspirational, but I think we can do it…We really have the capabilities of building something big throughout North America through HBSE and so my focus was what we could do to build something in North America, specifically with Riot and the League Championship Series,” Prindiville said.
Dignitas is one of the founding teams of the LCS, but the last few years have been rough for the organization. In 2016 the group was forced to sell its European team and was kicked from the LCS following a series of poor results and disappointments. Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment purchased the team following its expulsion from the LCS and began implementing drastic changes.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment has made a substantial financial investment in this deal, but only time will prove out whether it’s enough to put the Dignitas name back into the LCS.