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Not even two years into franchising and the names are already changing. ESPN’s Jacob Wolf is reporting that the Houston Rockets have sold their majority stake in LCS franchise Clutch Gaming to Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment for a whopping $20 million. Harris Blitzer also owns the Philadelphia 76ers and the veteran esports organization Team Dignitas. As a result of this transaction, the Clutch Gaming franchise will be re-branded and historical North American franchise Dignitas will finally make its triumphant return.
The reported number of the purchase is a huge $20 million. That’s $7 million more than what the Rockets paid for the spot in 2017. Clutch is also not the only team being reported as on the market. Wolf reported that OpTic Gaming and Echo Fox are also seeking majority stake buyers. The Rockets will reportedly retain a 31.8% share of the re-branded franchise and hold a significant minority stake. The returning Dignitas LCS franchise will join several other big names under the Harris Blitzer brand. Other notable properties include the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Digging the Rebrand
Dignitas is one of the original League of Legends franchises with one of the most stacked alumni rosters in North American history. That list includes the likes of World Champion CoreJJ, 100T top laner Ssumday, and record-setting streamer imaqtpie. They once ran two franchises concurrently but were forced to sell their European division, which then became Splyce.
Their NA division was among the early casualties of the league’s franchising initiative, along with Immortals and Phoenix1. While the organization had never won an NA LCS title, they were a mainstay of the playoffs. The team reached the postseason seven times from 2013 to 2017. Since being rejected an LCS franchise, DIG funneled their efforts into Rocket League, establishing one of the strongest teams in the world.
What it means moving forward
There are two ways to take this transaction. The first is to see this as a step forward for the LCS, with a massive name now running one of the franchises. This would indicate that the interest is still there to invest in the League. But that isn’t the only outlook. On the flip side, Clutch were considered one of the richer franchises, and them selling out before the likes of OpTic and Echo Fox could also have some scary undertones for the LCS.
Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: the rate of LCS Baron throws just went up.