Summary: Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has been vocal about his interest in esports and specifically League of Legends, a popular online multiplayer game. Cuban’s involvement with LoL has sparked discussions about the future of esports and its potential as a mainstream industry.
1. Investing in Esports
Mark Cuban has been a vocal advocate for esports, investing in various companies and ventures related to the industry. In 2015, he invested in Unikrn, an esports betting platform. Later that year, he participated in the Series A funding round for San Francisco-based esports organization Team SoloMid. Cuban sees the potential for esports to grow into a mainstream industry, comparing it to traditional sports leagues like the NBA and NFL.
Cuban’s investment in esports has also extended to League of Legends. In 2017, he announced his ownership of a League of Legends team – the Dallas Mavericks’ affiliate team in the NBA 2K League, Mavs Gaming. The team competes against other NBA-affiliated esports teams in League of Legends competitions.
2. Integration with Traditional Sports
Cuban’s ownership of an NBA-affiliated esports team reflects a trend towards integration between traditional sports and esports. Many professional sports teams, such as the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, have invested in esports organizations or created their own esports teams. Additionally, esports events have begun to fill arenas that were previously reserved for sports games.
As the owner of a professional basketball team, Cuban recognizes the potential for synergy between traditional sports and esports. The Dallas Mavericks have held several LoL-related events, including a watch party for the League of Legends World Championship and an esports night at a Mavericks game. By integrating esports with traditional sports, Cuban hopes to attract a wider audience and create new opportunities for revenue streams.
3. Esports as a Career
Esports has become a viable career option for many gamers, with professional players earning salaries and prize money from competitions. Cuban has been a proponent of promoting esports as a legitimate career path, even offering Mavs Gaming players health insurance and 401(k) plans – benefits not typically associated with esports players.
Critics of esports argue that it lacks the physicality and athleticism of traditional sports, but Cuban believes that esports requires different skills and training. In an interview with ESPN, he compared League of Legends to chess, noting that both require strategic thinking and mental acuity. By elevating esports to a respected profession, Cuban hopes to attract more talent and legitimizing an industry that is still viewed skeptically by some.
Mark Cuban’s involvement with League of Legends represents the growing interest in esports and its potential as a mainstream industry. Through his investments, ownership of an NBA-affiliated esports team, and integration with traditional sports, Cuban aims to promote esports as a legitimate career path and attract a wider audience to the rapidly expanding industry.
While there are skeptics of esports, Cuban’s vision for the industry highlights the potential for growth and opportunities in a field that is already attracting millions of players and spectators worldwide.