Miami Heat invest in esports with Misfits

USA TODAY Sports, Provided by Misfits

NBA franchise the Miami Heat have acquired stake in multigame esports organization Misfits, the two parties announced Tuesday. With the investment, the Heat will assist in managerial duties around the brand, including a new rebrand to match the Heat colors, marketing, brand promotion and sponsorship.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"The Miami Heat pride ourselves on being innovative in all aspects of sports and business," Heat chief executive officer Nick Arison said in a news release. "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."

The Heat are the second NBA franchise to fully integrate into an esports team. In September, the Philadelphia 76ers ownership group purchased majority stake in Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming, merging the two under the Dignitas banner, appointing new staffers and using some of its staff from the Sixers for the esports brand.

There are other NBA investments of varying degrees. In 2015, two co-owners, Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov of the Sacramento Kings, launched their brand NRG Esports, while Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in Immortals. In September, Ted Leonsis and Peter Guber of the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors, respectively, launched investment group aXiomatic, which purchased a majority stake in Team Liquid.

"This partnership will be the catalyst and foundation to our continued expansion of the Misfits organization into a global esports brand and company," Misfits CEO Ben Spoont said. "The Heat -- innovators and leaders in traditional sports -- will help Misfits to unlock meaningful value across all facets of our business."

Misfits started in 2016 when Syfy channel co-founder Mitchell Rubenstein and his son-in-law, businessman Ben Spoont, launched the brand and acquired the former Renegades: Banditos League of Legends team. That team then qualified for the League Championship Series and the brand has since expanded into Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and Super Smash Bros.