OpTic Gaming has finalized an investment deal with a group led by Texas Rangers co-owner and Summer Energy CEO Neil Leibman, sources close to the team and group told ESPN.
As a result, the team acquired the Overwatch League slot in Houston -- where Leibman is based -- for $20 million paid over time. OpTic has also expanded its reach by applying for a spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series and has advanced to Phase 2 of the application process, according to sources.
Leibman is the second Rangers co-owner to invest in an esports team and pursue a slot in the Overwatch League. In August, oil magnate and Rangers board member Kenneth Hersh reportedly invested $35 million into Team EnVyUs and obtained rights to an Overwatch League slot in Dallas.
Chaney Sports Group, a non-traditional sports and entertainment consulting agency, advised on the Leibman deal. Chaney sought out Overwatch staff and hired former PVP Live writer James "Obscurica" Chen to recruit personnel for OpTic's League of Legends team, sources said.
OpTic Gaming announced its relocation to Dallas in July, but sources said that Leibman's location was the push for the Overwatch spot in Houston. Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment sought other options for the league -- including the Houston Rockets -- but was turned down, according to sources.
This won't be OpTic's first time applying for the LCS. In December 2014, it was reported that OpTic made a bid to acquire Curse Academy, which qualified for the League Championship Series at the time. Davis Vague outbid OpTic and started Gravity Gaming in January 2015.
Should OpTic be accepted into the LCS, it will have to pay $13 million in franchising fees for a permanent spot in the league. OpTic currently sits among a Riot Games short list of prospective applicants, sources said, and will be notified in the coming months if it is accepted.
OpTic Gaming and Neil Leibman could not be reached for comment. Chaney Sports Group did not respond for a request for comment.