Dignitas return to LCS with acquisition of Clutch Gaming

Team Dignitas announced Thursday that they have acquired Clutch Gaming's slot in the League of Legends Championship Series and will merge with the Houston Rockets-owned LCS franchise. Provided by Riot Games

The parent company of Dignitas, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils announced Thursday that it has forged a partnership with the Houston Rockets to acquire League of Legends Championship Series team Clutch Gaming.

ESPN reported in April that Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment had agreed in principle to buy the majority share in Clutch from the Rockets for $20 million. Bloomberg Sports reported Thursday that the deal values Clutch and their franchise slot at more than $30 million.

The partnership is the first-ever merger involving a League of Legends franchise in Riot Games' LCS, the competition's top level in North America. It also marks Dignitas' return to the LCS after it previously fielded League teams in North America and Europe.

"I am filled [with] gratitude following today's official announcement that Dignitas and Clutch Gaming will merge and that esports fans will see a Dignitas banner waving again in an LCS arena," Dignitas CEO Michael Prindiville said in a statement.

In an interview with Travis Gafford, Prindiville further outlined the deal.

"About November of last year, we started looking for any opportunities in LCS with teams that might want to take on a new partner or might be looking to sell and having those conversations as well as having conversations with other Tier 1 games, whether it was Counter-Strike or Overwatch League," Prindiville said. "But ultimately the goal and the story we always wanted to tell was the return of Dignitas to League of Legends."

LCS commissioner Chris Greeley added in a statement, "Dignitas was one of the eight original teams in the NA LCS, and we're excited to welcome them back to the LCS. We have been impressed with the strides they have taken over the past two years."

Clutch will compete under their current name through the 2019 season before rebranding under Dignitas for future seasons.

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, founded by Josh Harris and David Blitzer in 2017, owns the NBA's 76ers and the NHL's Devils, both teams' minor league affiliates, the English Premier League's Crystal Palace, Dignitas and the NBA 2K League's 76ers GC.

Dignitas already has teams competing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. Melee, SMITE, Apex Legends and Clash Royale.

-- Field Level Media