OpTic Gaming will join the North American League of Legends Championship Series as one of the newest franchise owners in the league, sources close to that team and the league told ESPN.
The longtime and popular esports organization received an investment from a group led by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman in the summer. With that investment the team obtained the Houston spot in the upcoming Overwatch League for a reported $20 million and applied for the League Championship Series.
OpTic will be obligated to pay $13 million in franchising fees for the LCS. That includes a $10 million standard expense -- with $5 million of that due up front -- that each team accepted into the new league will have to pay, as well as an additional $3 million for being a new team in the league.
OpTic's entrance costs for both the League Championship Series and the Overwatch League will total $33 million over the next few years. OpTic declined comment when contacted by ESPN.
OpTic was among at least three teams notified last week of their acceptance into the league, according to sources. Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and his son Kirk obtained a spot in the league, as reported by ESPN on Friday. The third team was not disclosed.
The organization and its sports consulting firm, Chaney Sports Group, previously hired former PVP Live writer James "Obscurica" Chen as a consultant to assist in recruiting personnel if it was accepted into the league, sources said. The team has pursued a number of coaches and analysts and will begin assembling a roster ahead of the opening of the Nov. 21 transfer period.
Riot Games announced changes to the North American League Championship Series in June that included team permanence, a secondary academy league, a players' association and revenue-sharing options for both teams and players. With it, the 10 previously participating teams were not guaranteed to return to the league, but instead had to go through a meticulous application process that lasted from July to September. At least three teams -- Team Dignitas, Phoenix1 and Team Envy -- will not return to the league, sources said.
OpTic was founded in 2006 and has been one of the best-known organizations across all of esports. The team has had success in multiple first-person shooter esports titles, including Call of Duty, Halo, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Gears of War. The team had previously attempted to enter League of Legends in 2014 as a bidder on the slot formerly owned by Curse Academy, but was outbid by Gravity Gaming.