Sacramento Kings Owners Buy LCS Spot, Create NRG Esports

Two of the owners of the Sacramento Kings have led an investment group into buying a spot in the LCS. The LCS is the Leauge Championship Series where the best professional teams compete in North America as well as Europe. The LCS is the biggest league for the biggest eSport in North America. The team they created is called, “NRG Esports”, coming from the term “energy” that they want everyone in their organization to have. They will be competing in the 2016 LCS Spring Split in North America. The LCS spot that NRG now holds was purchased from Team Coast.

The team owners, Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, are extremely wealthy individuals that have been successful in almost anything they have become a part of. It had been rumored for weeks now that the Sacramento owners were looking to purchase a team and that they would be paying their players an unprecedented amount for their services. This combination is great for League of Legends and other eSports. Bigger investors are coming into the eSports realm and will result in players being rewarded more than what they are now for their services. The eSports industry is a growing one that has been estimated to continue on to become a billion dollar industry in just 2 years. The viewership numbers for the most recent League of Legends World Championship have not been released yet, but it was already stated that over 30 million viewers tuned in for the biggest eSports tournament of the year. To put that into perspective, only the Super Bowl would be a higher watched event. Investment groups coming into the eSports scene is an exciting ordeal and I believe it is only the beginning of something that could become the norm.

The NRG lineup is not going to consist of a bunch of scrubs either. They have recruited some top level talent that will already give their team a fan base before they even start playing. In the top lane will be Season 3 World Champion, Impact. Impact played last year in North America for Team Impulse, another team whose LCS spot is up for sale coincidentally. He is one of the best top laners in North America and should fair well on any team. In the jungle position, NRG will have LCS rookie Moon. Moon spent last year on the challenger team, Imagine, and was unsuccessful in qualifying for the LCS.  Moon is believed to have great talent and could grow into a very good player in the LCS. The other big name on this NRG team is their mid laner, GankedByMom (GBM). GBM was the former mid laner on Jin Air Green Wings, a top flight Korean team. Also on this team is former Team Coast support player, KonKwon. He was on the Coast team that qualified for the LCS before they sold it to NRG. The team is yet to announce their ADC, but will be doing so very soon. Impact and GBM are the teams 2 imports that are allowed, so their ADC will be from North America. If you would like to be up to date on the new LCS squad you can follow them on Twitter here.

NRG lineup

This team doesn’t just have star power in their players, they have one of the most recognized coaching staffs ever put together. The team’s General Manager, Chad “HISTORY TEACHER” Smeltz, was the coach for Team 8 this past year. He has experience in professional eSports and is very respected. Their head coach will be Charlie “Charlie” Lipsie who was formerly the coach for NA powerhouse, Cloud 9. Probably their biggest name in their management department is their strategic coach, Tadayoshi “Hermit” Littleton. Hermit was the coach of Origen last season and led his team to the semifinals of the World Championship. The NRG organization has already signed 3 full-time analysts, as well as an assistant General Manager and a Head of Social Media and Content. NRG has a very large organizational structure for an LCS team, which can help them improve into a playoff contending team right out the gate. Look for NRG to make a big splash onto the LCS scene next split with their deep organization and fresh blood.

Investments groups buying LCS teams/spots is now becoming a regular thing. A little over a month ago, a group of investors bought the LCS spot previously held by Team 8. They are now known as Immortals. This was the first time an outside investment group bought into the LCS. It’s not just in North America either. Shortly after the Immortals formation, Team Dignitas EU was bought by FollowEsports.  Having investment groups buying professional League of Legends teams shows a large amount of interest in this business and may become more and more frequent. More and more people are becoming aware of the eSports scene as it continues to grow and gain more fans each day. This is only the beginning.


**Update** Altec announced as starting ADC

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin