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NY Yankees Invest In Rick Fox’s ESports Firm

Yankees Sign With Rick Fox & Amit Raizada

The New York Yankees has officially followed several other pro baseball teams into the eSports business. This latest development brings even more credibility to the competitive gaming that takes place off the field.

One of the biggest shareholders in the world of eSports, Vision Esports, currently is the majority stockholder for a trio of major entities: Vision Entertainment, Twin Galaxies, and Echo Fox.

Vision Entertainment primarily works as a content creator for eSports, while Twin Galaxies is in the lucrative business of ranking players, offering validation of game performance, and operating individual leagues. Echo Fox fields participating teams and was brought into existence by Rick Fox, a former all-star player in the NBA.

The New York Yankees front office has so far declined to publish financial particulars of the investment agreement. Two members of the partnership team Vision Venture Partners, a holding company, teamed up with Rick Fox to establish Vision Esports. The VVP members who joined Fox are Stratton Sclavos.

What industry insiders are calling an innovative and unusually bold move, the New York Yankees decision to join forces with Vision Esports could rapidly transform the industry, especially because the organization is headed by a team of knowledgeable, seasoned sports professionals. The NY Yankees’ co-chairman and general partner, Hal Steinbrenner, was exuberant in his praise of the Vision Esports organization when he made official comments after the announcement.

Yankees Organization Will Deliver Marketing Power

All parties to the agreement made a joint statement to the media, noting that both Vision Esports and the New York Yankees organization with work to boost worldwide brand recognition and speed up growth in the eSports industry. Vision Esports’ partners, Chris Nordling, Jace Hall, Amit Raizada and Stratton Sclavos, appeared at the media event. A spokesperson for the New York Yankees pointed out that the team will contribute a great deal of partnership, marketing and sales experience to the holdings of Vision Esports.

Stratton Sclavos is a former executive with Verisign, where he served as CEO. After the announcement, Sclavos was upbeat in his assessment of the agreement, noting that the entire Vision Esports team is looking forward to watching how this new partnership with the Yankees will develop over time. He said his hope is that there will be a synergistic interaction among the Vision Esports family of companies, which now includes the Yankees. The final goal, according to Sclavos, is to create an esports environment where fans, players and teams are happy.

Other Teams Have Led the Way

The Yankees are certainly not the first traditional sports organization to delve into the exciting and fast-growing world of eSports. In 2016, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers David Blitzer and Josh Harris acquired two eSports teams: Apex Gaming and Team Dignitas. Just a few weeks ago, Blitzer and Harris decided to formally join their sports-related enterprises into a single holding company called Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, along with Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and former Columbia Pictures Entertainment chief Peter Guber joined up to create aXiomatic, a massive eSports business entity. Soon after that, eSports giant Activision Blizzard’s key component, Overwatch League, saw franchise buy-ins by Jeff Wilpon and Robert Kraft. Wilpon is Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets, while Kraft is the well-known owner of the New England Patriots.

Since its creation by Rick Fox in early 2016, Echo Fox has consisted of a roster of teams, now numbering 10, which jointly compete for titles in the League of Legends and other leagues.

The Future of eSports

What is the future of eSports as a gaming universe? Right now, the prospects for success look very bright. Already, there is an entity that will operate, manage, govern and create leagues as they enter the eSports professional playing world. The new division, which deals specifically with professional leagues, was recently announced by Twin Galaxies. This is just one example of how the organizational DNA of the gaming field is coming together and naturally developing.

With a total audience in excess of two million viewers on its Facebook Live channel, Vision Entertainment offers all-original programming formats within a five-show package. The Vision Entertainment effort is another prime example of how innovation is leading the way in the eSports space.

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