Beasley Media Group purchases Houston Outlaws from Immortals Gaming Club

Beasley Media Group, a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, announced Thursday that it purchased the Houston Outlaws from Immortals Gaming Club. IGC had bought Houston from OpTic Gaming but was not allowed to own two Overwatch League franchises at once. Robert Paul/Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

The Houston Outlaws have their third ownership group in less than a year after Beasley Media Group, a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, purchased the Overwatch League team from Immortals Gaming Club on Thursday.

IGC acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment in June, which owned the Outlaws and OpTic Gaming. However, IGC had to sell the Outlaws because they already owned an Overwatch League team, the Los Angeles Valiant, and league rules forbid ownership to have claim to two teams in the OWL.

At the time of the June transfer, IGC had stated it would seek another buyer for the Outlaws, a goal it accomplished Thursday.

In July, Immortals struck a binding letter of intent with Houston real estate investor Lee Zieben, who agreed to pay $40 million for the team, as reported by ESPN. Zieben also wanted to purchase a Call of Duty League slot and acquire esports team eUnited, according to a report by the Esports Observer.

Zieben later tweeted publicly at celebrities like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to ask for investment in his cause, but he ultimately could not raise the money to complete either deal, sources told ESPN.

Beasley, in a press release announcing the acquisition, stated that the move "reflects the company's focus on premium esports programming and content." Earlier this year, Beasley invested in Renegades, which fields five esports squads, and the company produces a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show, CheckpointXP.

Beasley Broadcast Group also owns 47 FM radio stations and 18 AM radio stations in the United States.

"The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform," CEO Caroline Beasley said in a statement. "The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services.

"Beasley is very excited to expand its operations to Houston, which is home to one of the largest esports fan bases in the US. Our growing esports infrastructure and management combined with our experience with team Renegades, success in hosting and promoting large events and our national esports content hub -- BeasleyXP -- are key factors in our expectations for long-term returns from this investment. We look forward to initial contributions from this exciting development when the league's third season begins in February."

Ari Segal, IGC's CEO, added, "As ongoing owners in the Overwatch League through our Los Angeles Valiant franchise, we are thrilled to welcome Beasley Media Group, Caroline Beasley, Chris Roumayeh, and the entire Beasley/Team Renegades group to the Overwatch League."

The Outlaws finished 16th in the 20-team Overwatch League this year with a 9-19 record. They lost 3-0 to the Vancouver Titans in the quarterfinals of the Stage 3 playoffs but didn't advance to the playoffs after the other three stages.

"The Houston Outlaws have a fantastic new ownership team, and we're excited to welcome the Beasley Media Group to the Overwatch League," said Pete Vlastelica, the OWL commissioner and president and CEO of Activision-Blizzard Esports. "We look forward to working with them and ensuring a smooth transition for the team, the players, and the fans. Outlaws fans are incredibly passionate and 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the entire league."

-- Reuters and Field Level Media contributed to this report