Basketball legend Michael Jordan invests in eSports franchise

Michael Jordan is branching out into eSports. (AP)
Updated 26 October 2018
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Basketball legend Michael Jordan invests in eSports franchise

  • The next generation of sports fans are eSports fans: Washington Wizards owner

LOS ANGELES: NBA icon Michael Jordan is branching out into eSports, investing in the parent company of Team Liquid, aXiomatic.
Jordan, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls and now owner of the league’s Charlotte Hornets, is making his first foray into the burgeoning world of eSports.
He was one of two new investors announced on Thursday by aXiomatic, along with Declaration Capital, the family office of Washington DC-based billionaire David Rubenstein.
According to Forbes the investments were part of a $26 million funding round.
“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,” said Jordan, who joined his fellow Dream Team teammate Magic Johnson as an aXiomatic investor, as is Ted Leonsis, owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards as well as the NHL’s Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
“The next generation of sports fans are eSports fans,” Leonsis told ESPN in a statement. “ESports is the fastest-growing sector in sports and entertainment, and aXiomatic is at the forefront of that growth.”
In 2016 aXiomatic acquired a majority stake in Team Liquid, one of the oldest and most popular teams in eSports with more than 60 competitive gamers based out of Los Angeles and the Netherlands.
Team Liquid teams compete in a number of eSports titles, including League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike.
The NBA is involved with eSports with its NBA 2K League, which involves 21 NBA team affiliates.


‘Not impossible’ that Formula E will overtake F1, says Felipe Massa ahead of Ad Diriyah race

Updated 15 December 2018
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‘Not impossible’ that Formula E will overtake F1, says Felipe Massa ahead of Ad Diriyah race

LONDON: Felipe Massa has acknowledged the possibility of Formula E becoming more popular than its more illustrious rival Formula One, ahead of his debut at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia today.
The Brazilian ace swapped the roaring engines of F1 for the blistering battery power of Formula E this season, and told Arab News that the idea was not “impossible.”
“On overtaking, Formula 1, that’s a difficult question to answer. But what can I say, is that it’s not impossible. We just need to wait and see how things go, (whether) it is ‘when’ or ‘if,’ but it’s definitely not impossible,” he said.
“Formula E and electric cars are becoming ever-more present, but it will definitely be the future, even in the short-term future.
“It (the technology) has already arrived in some countries and will in other countries, too, it is the future. I think Formula E has used that mentality, even five years ago to build this (motorsport) category,” he added.
Massa, who raced for 15 seasons in Formula One and won 11 grands prix, was also positive about the potential of Formula E as it continues to expand after its inception in 2011 and inaugural season in 2014.
“It will take a little bit of time, it’s not easy to get things perfect straight away, but look at the past two years and how much the championship is growing.
“When I say growing, it’s not just with the quality of the drivers, but also with manufacturers’ teams and companies, who are really getting behind the sport.
“Look how many companies they are signing on as sponsors, on many different levels, even companies that sell fuel,” he said.
“We are even racing (this weekend) in a country known as an oil country. So, I think this shows how much this championship is growing.”
Massa also agreed with comments made by F1 director Ross Brawn, who recently said that the highest level of motorsport had become too predictable.
“Only certain racers can win in Formula One, but Formula E is unpredictable and a good example (of that) is that the winners in all past seasons have been different drivers,” he told Arab News.
The affable driver said he is relishing the new challenge that Formula E will pose to his skills and abilities, adding that with the exception of certain parts of the Monaco and Mexico circuits, each track will be new to him.
“I like a challenge, there is a lot to learn and a lot to test myself with and learning the car, working with the team,” he said.
“Even though I’m experienced in motorsport, with my 16 years in Formula One, this is a new test and I will have to start from zero.”
Meanwhile, defending Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne said hearing the words “world champion” after his name was “still cool.”
When asked about the challenge from teammate Andre Lotterer on the other side of the Techeetah garage, the Frenchman was full of praise for the German driver.
“He is absolutely one of the most talented drivers, and I expect him to be on the same level as I am and, for sure, it’s going to be a nice competition between us.
“It will be good for the team, as that will push everybody, and that is what we want as a team.”
The former F1 driver was complimentary about Formula E’s new “attack mode,” but voiced concerns about the danger the system posed to drivers on corners on the challenging Ad Diriyah circuit this weekend.