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Miami Heat acquires stake in eSports franchise Misfits

The Miami Heat became the second NBA franchise to integrate itself with an eSports franchise​, as the team announced an investment in Misfits.

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The Miami Heat became the second NBA franchise to integrate itself with an eSports franchise, announcing Tuesday a stake and partnership with Misfits, which fields teams in Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Bros. and League of Legends, among others.

The Heat will assist in a variety of business-related areas, including sponsorship activation, marketing, branding, promotion, retail and digital in addition to cross promotion of both organizations. During a recent NBA meeting, team owners were briefed on eSports, leading some to invest, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

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“The Miami Heat pride ourselves on being innovative in all aspects of sports and business,” Heat CEO Nick Arison said in a statement. “For us, it made perfect sense to partner with Misfits, a young and ambitious franchise in a sport that is blazing a trail in terms of 21st century recreational competition amongst millennials.”

Added Misfits CEO and co-founder Ben Spoont in a statement: “Misfits is thrilled to be partnering with the Heat organization. This partnership will be the catalyst and foundation to our continued expansion of the Misfits organization into a global eSports brand and company. The Heat, innovators and leaders in traditional sports, will help Misfits to unlock meaningful value across all facets of our business.”

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Last September, the Philadelphia 76ers also purchased Team Dignitas and Team Apex, eventually merging the two under the former’s name. Similar to the Heat’s new arrangement, the 76ers cross-promote with Team Dignitas and assist the gaming team with marketing and sponsorship sales.

Around the same time, a group of sports owners—led by Ted Leonsis of Monumental Sports—acquired a controlling interest in Team Liquid. Memphis Grizzlies Co-owner Steve Kaplan double-downed on his commitment to eSports last fall, increasing his controlling stake in Immortals.