Dignitas Owner O’Dell took a moment while he took the fact in that the landmark deal was signed a few hours ago. The O’Dell – Philadelphia 76’ers deal was signed with Philadelphia 76’ers acquiring Apex Gaming’s LOL team as well as Team Dignitas’ Smite, CSGO, HOTS and Overwatch teams.
O’Dell has owned Dignitas, purchased Monday by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, since 2003. He was one of the pioneers of the current esports landscape and put in more than a decade building his organization from the start.
“I think 13 years ago when we started, we were literally hoping we could get some money, a couple hundred pounds to go to a tournament. I couldn’t have envisioned 13 years later that we’d be signing with an NBA team.”
Apex general manager Michael Slan will become vice president and general manager for the organization, which will carry Dignitas’ name going forward.
“All the ins and outs, and obviously this is new to them, the esports world,” O’Dell said. “They have to understand it fully themselves. We have to carry on and do our due diligence now. With these guys behind us, they’ve got lots of plans. Just having the backing of the whole group just means our players are going to have the ability to have everything possible to perform at the highest of their abilities.”
O’Dell has been a symbol of the rise of eSports. Starting his organisation on a very small premise of gathering together a few hundred pounds for his team, Dignitas quickly blossomed into a full fledged organisation. The Dignitas roster is well respected and renowned in a plethora of eSports.
The Sixers’ acquisition is the latest example of the NBA’s growing interest in esports. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns an organization, as does Andy Miller, a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings (with Shaquille O’Neal as an investor). Jonas Jerebko of the Boston Celtics recently purchased an organization. The Sixers, though, are the NBA’s first organization to acquire a team.
“Still now, some people question, what is esports?” O’Dell said. “It’s still something new. It needs a little more infrastructure on the whole. The fact that the 76ers are coming in now will help me legitimize what I’ve been doing for such a long time. All of the infrastructure.”