Lionsgate just raised its bet on sSports by making an investment in one of its most popular franchises: The Immortals.
No word yet on how much the studio is spending, or how big a stake it will own. It made the announcement as it kicks off an Investor Day series of briefings for Wall Street following its $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz last month.
The Immortals competes in League of Legends, Counterstrike GO, Overwatch and Super Smash Brothers. Other Immortals investors include financier Michael Milken, Gregory Milken, Oaktree Capital’s Steve Kaplan, Third Wave’s Allen DeBevoise and CrossCut Ventures.
Lionsgate’s investment “creates tremendous opportunities to develop new content and utilize our suite of distribution platforms for a coveted consumer demographic with compelling engagement metrics,” says Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin — who had previously made a personal investment in The Immortals. “Collaborating with an elite group of partners, the combination of the Lionsgate and Immortals brands will be formidable.”
The studio showed its interest in sSports last year when Pilgrim Media Group, in which Lionsgate owns a controlling stake, said it would join with eSports promoter ESL to create TV and digital content. Their first collaboration, with Microsoft, will involve the game Halo.
Lionsgate also invested in mobile gaming’s Mobcrush.
Immortals Chairman and CrossCut Ventures Managing Director Clinton Foy likens eSports to “the early days of building the NFL and NBA. It’s not the evolution of games – it’s the evolution of sports, technology and media.”
The team’s CEO Noah Whinston says that they are “focused on developing new entertainment formats…at the cutting edge of eSports media.”