Guinevere Capital secures controlling interest in Oceania League of Legends esports team Dire Wolves
Yesterday, Riot Games Oceania announced that Australian sports business group, Guinevere Capital, has purchased the majority stake of League of Legends Oceanic Pro League (OPL) eSports team, Dire Wolves – marking the first major investment deal in an OPL team.
This is big news for the Aussie eSports scene and the League of Legends OPL in particular. Dire Wolves, sponsored by LG, now has the backing to drive future success on the world stage.
It’s expected Guinevere Capital will bring its experience from traditional sports and cultivate the local eSports scene through Dire Wolves.
Backed by business investors, David Harris is Managing Director, he has 15 years experience in sports management and has worked across top Australian, UK and International sports organisations, including the NRL, international and domestic cricket, English Premier League and Football League. With the wealth of experience and resources Guinevere Capital brings from traditional sports, its impact on the team and league is expected to be significant.
In a press release Harris explained how Guinevere Capital wants to bring more professionalism into esports,
“Guinevere Capital are committed to Dire Wolves’ long term vision in building a serious sporting franchise that fans can passionately support and will last for many years to come. We want to raise the bar of professionalism in esports locally and help an Oceania team break-through to Worlds to play for an audience bigger than the population of Australia,”
This investment news follows announcements earlier this year of Aus Unigames adopting League of Legends as a sport. Though seen as a small pond, Australia and Oceanic esports has seen an increase in sponsorship and tournaments lately.
“The OPL is becoming increasingly popular for investors and sponsors as the league and esports continues to grow in Oceania. Investors help establish a support network for the players, which in turn sees the quality of performance increase in the team and the league, so it’s great to have Guinevere Capital on board with Dire Wolves,” said Daniel Ringland, Head of Esports at Riot Games Oceania.
Dire Wolves is one of the top contenders in the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League. To OCE League fans, Dire Woves, Chiefs eSports Club, and Legacy eSports are household names. Our interview with Tim ‘Carbon’ Wendel of Legacy eSports can be found here.
Nathan Mott, Founder and CEO of Dire Wolves discussed what the investment means for the future of the team.
“I’m thrilled to have Guinevere Capital on board and look forward to working very closely with them to further legitimise and push Oceanic esports forward. Not only resources, but also the sporting and business expertise that David and his team bring will provide significant value to our players, fans, existing and future sponsorships,”
Guinevere Capital’s investment follows a recent international trend of traditional sport clubs, players/ex-players and team owners investing esports teams.
Notable eSports investors include NBA stars Rick Fox (created team Echo Fox) and Shaquille O’Neal (investment in NRG Esports), NBA Boston Celtics player Jonas Jerebko (purchased Renegades) and just announced last week, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber, Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and NBA alum Magic Johnson (controlling stake in Team Liquid).
League of Legends recently announced that it has hit over 100 million monthly players worldwide, increasing by 33 million players since 2014, and this growth shows no signs of slowing down.
For the past few years, Riot games Oceania have made a big push in building up Aussie eSports; with live viewings of the OPL Grand Finals in cinemas, and Exhibition matches. Representatives from the OCE eSports casters and pro teams will attend PAX Aus this year for panels on eSports and livestreaming.