Delaware North this week announced it has made an investment in Dignitas, an esports franchise that is one of the most iconic and recognizable brands in the professional gaming industry and fields teams in many of esports’ largest and most popular games.
Dignitas is primarily owned by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), the parent company of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and Fertitta Entertainment, owners of the Houston Rockets, and received $30 million in funding from several investors, including Delaware North. The funding and other changes within the organization has led Dignitas to create a new parent company, New Meta Entertainment (NME), that will operate in three primary areas: esports teams, content and marketing, and investments.
“We continue to believe in the power of esports and its future, including the almost unlimited potential to connect with fans across the globe,” said Todd Merry, chief marketing officer of Delaware North. “Dignitas is a storied brand, and the team behind it from HBSE and the Houston Rockets are second to none in the industry. We couldn’t be more pleased to be part of NME.”
Earlier in the year Dignitas merged with Clutch Gaming, the League of Legends organization owned by the NBA’s Houston Rockets. This allowed the organization to once again enter the LCS League of Legends competition after missing out on a spot in the franchised league, despite having a long history in the competition. From the 2020 season the team will play under the name Dignitas. But before that happens, they will be traveling to Europe to play in the annual World Championship, being one of only three teams from North America to compete.
Michael Prindiville, who has been serving as CEO of Dignitas, will become the CEO of New Meta Entertainment.
“NME’s shareholders provide a strong competitive advantage, given their success in operating professional sports teams and entertainment assets,” said Prindiville. “NME will be an industry innovator, and will operate at the intersection of esports, media, technology and entertainment. Our shareholders embrace the vast potential of esports, gaming and digital entertainment, and we will be leveraging their resources, relationships and brand insights to grow the NME and Dignitas brands.”
In June, Dignitas opened a new headquarters – a 3,000-square-foot gaming and content production studio adjacent to HBSE’s Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. NME plans to open a similar facility in Los Angeles in 2020. Additionally, NME leverages infrastructure in Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Europe and China to deliver on global opportunities.
Delaware North brings its own umbrella of sports properties and partnerships to the new Dignitas organization. It owns and operates TD Garden in Boston, which not only serves as home of the NHL’s Boston Bruins – owned by Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs – but also hosts many world-class entertainment acts and events each year.