One of the biggest names in all of sports is getting in on the esports industry.
NBA megastar and hall of fame member Michael Jordan joined other investors as a part of a $26 million series C funding round for aXiomatic Gaming, the parent company behind Team Liquid. This continues a trend of big name athletic figures investing in the emerging esports marketplace.
“I’m excited to expand my sports equity portfolio through my investment in aXiomatic. Esports is a fast-growing, international industry and I’m glad to partner with this great group of investors,” Jordan said.
In addition to his famed basketball career, the former Chicago Bulls superstar is no stranger to investing in major sports teams. In 2006, Jordan purchased a minority stake in the NBA franchise now known as the Charlotte Hornets and later became majority owner of the organization in 2010. His name is synonymous with the world of competitive athletics and he is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all-time.
Jordan isn’t the first notable sports figure to invest in aXiomatic. Fellow NBA star Magic Johnson became an investor in 2016. aXiomatic CEO Bruce Stein stated that he and the company are extremely excited to bring these two sports legends together.
“Now our group has both Jordan and Magic on the same team,” Stein said.
The increasing popularity of esports has even attracted the attention of David Rubenstein, co-founder of multinational private equity corporation The Carlyle Group and one of the wealthiest men in America according to Forbes. Rubenstein joined Jordan as an investor in aXiomatic Gaming during the round.
Team Liquid isn’t the only organization to receive this treatment nor is it the first to get it from a NBA superstar. In 2015 Rick Fox purchased Gravity Gaming and rebranded it to Echo Fox, and the following year Shaquille O’Neal purchased a majority share in NRG Esports.
Powerful investors are giving a big boost to the growing esports industry, and figures like Michael Jordan purchasing stakes may continue to encourage further financial investments into competitive gaming.