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Yankees enter esports market with investment deal

The New York Yankees Major League Baseball franchise has entered the esports sector through an investment partnership with Vision Esports, the parent company of the Echo Fox, Twin Galaxies and Vision Entertainment properties.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the deal will result in the Yankees and Vision Esports operating a so-called 'ecosystem' of esports properties focusing on the three companies.

The partnership is designed to accelerate the growth and increase the global brand awareness of the three companies. The Yankees said that the team, together with Vision Esports, will manage the three companies as they would traditional sports properties.

The Yankees and Vision Esports will explore revenue opportunities in the fields of advertising, sponsorships, media rights, merchandise and ticket sales, naming rights and original content for broadcast and streaming distribution formats.

“The New York Yankees are thrilled to partner with Vision Esports and its diverse portfolio of esports companies," Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner and co-chairperson of the Yankees, said. "Guided by an impressively skilled and sports-savvy leadership team, Vision Esports is transcending the industry with a bold, innovative approach to their business, and we are excited to enter into this dynamic arena as their partner."

Stratton Sclavos, general partner at Vision Esports, added: “The New York Yankees brand is synonymous with success, and we are thrilled to welcome the organisation to the Vision Esports team. In every business, you are known by the company you keep, and we cannot be more pleased to be a part of the New York Yankees organisation. We look forward to exploring synergies between the Yankees and all of our portfolio companies to maximise the opportunity for a successful esports ecosystem for teams, players and fans.”

Echo Fox was founded in January 2016 by former NBA basketball player Rick Fox. The organisation currently comprises 10 teams across 12 competitive gaming leagues, with players competing in titles such as League of Legends, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Vainglory and H1Z1. Echo Fox also has a leading fighting games team competing on the Street Fighter, Injustice 2, Smash Brothers and Tekken professional circuits.

Twin Galaxies specialises in video game performance validation and player rankings, providing player statistics, skill indexes and certified world records across all gaming categories. Earlier this month, Twin Galaxies announced a new Pro League Division, which will create, govern and operate new esports leagues in partnership with leading video game publishers.

Vision Entertainment produces original esports content and broadcasts regular daily esports or competitive gaming shows on social media platform Facebook.