In a busy day for the NALCS, the New York Yankees of the MLB announced that they were making an investment in esports through Echo Fox, the professional esports organization owned by NBA legend Rick Fox. The Yankees invested into the Echo Fox parent company, Vision Esports, and the General Manager for the Yankees Hal Steinbrenner said, “The New York Yankees are thrilled to partner with Vision Esports and its diverse portfolio of esports companies.”
Echo Fox has teams in Call of Duty, Gears of War, and League of Legends (LCS); the LCS recently announced that they had accepted Echo Fox’s application for franchising in the new North American competitive league. Echo Fox also has a large stable of players from the Fighting Game Community (FGC) and smaller esports such as Vainglory and H1Z1. The New York Yankees are a staple of professional baseball with 27 World Series to their name and are currently in American League Championship looking to earn a 28th pennant.
The New York Yankees will not rebrand Echo Fox, but will look to maximize the brand potential of Echo Fox from merchandising to broadcast rights. With competition from organizations such as the Houston Rockets or crosstown rivals New York Mets in esports, LoL and Overwatch respectively, it seems that the Yankees are merely hedging their bets on esports being a potential future form of major entertainment, just like America’s pasttime.
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