NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan became the most recent high profile backers in esports as one of two new investors in a $26 million Series C funding round by aXiomatic, the parent company of one of esports' most valuable teams, Team Liquid.
Jordan and billionaire investor David Rubenstein were the new names to join aXiomatic's star-studded list of investors. The rest of the capital raised came from additional investments from existing co-executive chairmen of the company — Golden State Warriors' co-owner Peter Guber, Oaktree Capital Management cofounder Bruce Karsh, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
This is Jordan's first investment into the esports industry. He joins 1992 Olympic teammate Magic Johnson as a co-owner in aXiomatic. Johnson was among the company's initial investors, along with AOL co-founder Steve Case and Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney.
"Now our group has both Jordan and Magic on the same team," aXiomatic CEO Bruce Stein told ESPN. "For the purposes of bringing on traditional sports strategy, competitive training and being able to take best-of-class learning from other sports, it was pretty exciting for us to bring both Magic and Michael together in this group."
Both Jordan and Rubenstein's D.C.-based family offices were recruited into aXiomatic by Leonsis.
"The next generation of sports fans are esports fans," Leonsis said in a statement. "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 David to aXiomatic and look forward to working together on some truly cutting-edge opportunities."
Leonis's own Washington Capitals earned their first Stanley Cup victory earlier this year, but he also received a championship ring for Team Liquid's Dota 2 championship at The International 2017, which netted the team $11 million in prize money.
He added: "Probably no other franchise has the championship pedigree as we do with now Michael and with Magic."