The Adelaide Crows Football Club has acquired League of Legends Oceanic Pro League team Legacy eSports.
That makes the Crows the first traditional sports club to secure an esports team in Oceania. However, such a thing is common elsewhere: the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, German football club FC Schalke 04, French football club Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish football club Valencia CF all own esports teams.
The AFL is hoping the will broaden exposure of its brand amongst the elusive 14-to-34-year age group and boost sponsorship.
"We will bring our expertise in elite and professional sport to support the high performance development of the Legacy players who are driven to achieve success in their field," said Crows chief executive Andrew Fagan.
"We will also devote resources to support the growth of the Legacy brand and their ability to engage effectively with their passionate fan base."
Riot Games head of esports Daniel Ringland called the acquisition a huge win for all esports fans in the region.
"Not only are they the first ‘traditional’ sporting club to expand into the OPL, but they're a club built on both excellence in performance and dedication to their fans, which is why Legacy eSports are the perfect partners for them going forward," he said.
"With the two proud clubs combined, their shared values will bring a stronger Legacy into a more competitive OPL."
Legacy captain Tim ‘Carbon’ Wendel said that this deal is a dream come true.
"This is a landmark day for esports and we are ecstatic to start working with the Adelaide Football Club," he said.
"I have always been a Crows fan so it is an honour to be part of such a prestigious club and to develop Legacy eSports into a sport powerhouse, just like the Adelaide Crows."
Legacy finished second in the OPL Split 1 2017, losing in the grand final to Dire Wolves.
OPL Split 2 2017 will commence on 10 June, following League of Legends: League of Origin, which takes place on June 3-4.
In Split 2, Legacy will compete against Dire Wolves, Chiefs eSports Club, Sin Gaming, Avant Garde, Tainted Minds, Abyss eSports Club and the newly promoted Team Regicide for the 2017 OPL Grand Final Championship, and the opportunity to attend the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.