German soccer club Schalke 04 announced Monday the purchase of European League of Legends team Elements, which will rebrand to reflect the club's imprint and its new roster that will compete starting in June.
The club purchased Elements in late April for an undisclosed amount, bringing on former owner Jacob "Maelk" Toft-Andersen and coach Patrick "Nyph" Funke. Schalke 04 has also retained top laner Etienne "Steve" Michels, jungler Berk "Gilius" Demir, AD carry Rasmus "MrRalleZ" Skinneholm and support Hampus "sprattel" Abrahamsson.
Joining the lineup will be former Unicorns of Love mid laner Hampus "Fox" Myhre, who began looking for a new team in early April. Myhre had intended to move to North America but, after several failed deals, decided to join the Schalke roster.
"Esports has drastically increased in terms of professionalism within the last years," Schalke 04 Arena Management chairman Moritz Beckers-Schwarz said in the news release. "We want to speed up this process by making sure our players experience the best training conditions possible and assisting them in their development as professionals. We will fully commit to this and integrate them into the club."
The news release and announcement confirm a previous ESPN report.
The Schalke club is one of the biggest names to enter the League of Legends space on a financial level. The club is worth $655 million, according to Forbes' Business of Soccer.
Schalke 04 joins other traditional sports names to enter esports, including Sacramento Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, former NBA professionals Rick Fox and Shaquille O'Neal, New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez and Los Angeles Rams guard Rodger Saffold. Each has invested into esports within the past two years across a multitude of games, including League of Legends, "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" and "Call of Duty."
According to data company Newzoo, esports will produce $1 billion in revenue by 2019 and will be viewed by an estimated 427 million people by then.