Basketball legend Michael Jordan is part of a $26 million funding round for the famed esports company aXiomatic.
Jordan is said to team with another yesteryears’ icon of the sport Earvin “Magic” Johnson to buy an ownership stake in aXiomatic, the company that operates the prestigious eSports franchise, Team Liquid.
The NBA legend reportedly leads a group of investors that includes Declaration Capital, a family investment fund linked to The Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, and Curtis Polk, the managing partner of Hornets Sports & Entertainment and Jordan’s long-time business partner.
“I’m excited to expand my sports equity portfolio through my investment in aXiomatic,” Jordan said in a statement. “Esports is a fast-growing, international industry and I’m glad to partner with this great group of investors.”
Investing in aXiomatic marks Jordan’s first foray into competitive video gaming. The precise terms of his investment have not been disclosed, but Bloomberg reports the latest round of funding totals $26 million.
Jordan, currently the principal owner and chairman of the NBA franchisee Charlotte Hornets, was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jordan’s investment means the NBA Hall of Famer is teaming up with other NBA franchise owners in the form of Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards who is also the co-executive chairman of aXiomatic, and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, who is an existing investor.
“The next generation of sports fans are esports fans,” said Leonsis. “Esports is the fastest-growing sector in sports and entertainment, and aXiomatic is at the forefront of that growth.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael and Declaration Capital to aXiomatic and look forward to working together on some truly cutting-edge opportunities.”
Formed in 2015, aXiomatic acquired its stake in Team Liquid a year later. Team Liquid, which fields teams in League of Legends, Fortnite, DOTA 2, Counterstrike and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, was recently ranked by Forbes as the world’s third most valuable esports company behind Cloud9 and Team SoloMid.
With a total of 65 players in 14 teams, the net worth of aXiomatic has been estimated by Forbes at $200 million with $17 million annual revenues.