The Madison Square Garden Company has finalized the terms of a deal to invest in esports organization Counter Logic Gaming, sources close to both companies told ESPN.
The deal comes on the eve of the deadline for Counter Logic Gaming to submit its application for charter membership in Riot Games' North American League of Legends Championship Series next spring. The team will need to pay Riot $10 million, if accepted, to purchase a permanent spot and continue to participate in the league beginning in the 2018 season.
This wil be the first time Counter Logic Gaming has taken on formal investment. The deal was brokered by sports advisory company Catalyst Sports & Media and their two esports executive vice presidents Avi Bhuiyan and Bryce Blum, sources said.
Over the last two years, the multibillion dollar Madison Square Company has hosted esports events in four of its venues. The Madison Square Garden in New York and the Chicago Theatre have collectively hosted three League of Legends events, while the Wang Theatre in Boston held a Dota 2 major. The Forum in Los Angeles showcased the 2016 Call of Duty World Championship.
The Madison Square Company also owns a portfolio of sports teams, including the NBA's New York Knicks, the NHL's New York Rangers and the WNBA's New York Liberty. The company and its assets, founded by billionaire James Dolan, was worth $9.4 billion in 2008 and generated $1.1 billion in revenue in 2016.
Counter Logic Gaming was first founded in 2010 by professional League of Legends player George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis. The organization has competed in the NA LCS since its inception in 2013. The team has expanded into a number of games and currently holds rosters in League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros. and H1Z1.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet. The Madison Square Garden Company and Catalyst Sports & Media declined to comment.