Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and real estate investor John Goff have acquired a majority stake in North American esports franchise compLexity Gaming, the two announced Monday.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Jones family and the Goff family office, Goff Capital, will serve as majority owners. Jason Lake, the CEO and co-founder of compLexity Gaming, will remain in his current role and retain minority ownership in the organization. Fellow co-founder Jason Bass has sold his interest in the company as a part of the deal and will no longer remain with compLexity Gaming.
"The growth in professional gaming is incredibly significant," Jones said in a statement. "We are proud to be stepping into this space with John Goff and an industry icon in Jason Lake. The synergies here are endless and I'm confident our resources will continue the growth of compLexity for years to come."
The compLexity Gaming organization, its management and its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 teams will relocate to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and will have offices at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The group intends to build an esports facility at The Star, which is the current office location of the Dallas Cowboys, in the future.
"The one thing that was extremely attractive about our partnership with the Joneses is that we have these wonderful facilities that already exist," Goff told ESPN. "Having our organization and our teams housed at The Star, where we can not only have a wonderful office environment and wonderful place to attract great talent, great players and team members, but will also be able to attract our fan base, who will be able to physically come and watch the team practice not unlike fans come and watch the Dallas Cowboys practice."
The investment began thanks to Goff's son, Travis Goff, who is the vice president of Goff Capital. He had a passion for esports that spans back to the original version of Counter-Strike, which released in 2000. The younger Goff had met Lake at an event, and 14 years later, Travis Goff reached out to do a deal. He wanted esports to be a part of the family business.
The Goffs then went to the Joneses with the idea, and the families bought in as partners.
With the acquisition, Lake hopes to bolster the team's holdings across multiple games. As other teams have received significant investment in the past two years, salaries for players have become larger making it harder for those without investment -- like compLexity -- to keep up.
"I have devoted the majority of my adult life to esports, and it was very important for me to find the right group to partner with," Lake told ESPN. "It definitely took longer than I originally hoped, and I'm glad I was patient and waited out for this specific group. I'm confident that our aligned goals are going to result with one of the world's most compelling esports team, and I'm super excited to be able to compete on a financial field once again."
Jones' son, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, told ESPN that the family had been approached previously about owning a slot in Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League. Blizzard reportedly asked potential franchise owners for $20 million, to be paid over time, for a spot. Stephen Jones did not comment on the terms but said the Cowboys passed on that opportunity due to a lack of expertise in esports. Later on, when the Goffs broached the subject of acquiring a stake in compLexity, the Joneses were better prepared.
Lake added that compLexity will reevaluate potential participation in that league if it expands in the future.
The Cowboys will also participate in the Madden NFL Club Championship events in the coming months, which will be the first time all teams from a professional sports league take part in an esports event. Other NFL owners such as Robert Kraft and Stan Kroenke have purchased slots in the Overwatch League, but the Jones family joins a short list of NFL owners to invest or acquire an existing team in the space.