Houston Outlaws organization up for sale, but will it affect their OWL chances?
Earlier this week it was reported that Texas Esports, the majority owner of Infinite Esports and Entertainment, are in the process of preparing to offer up their stake in the company and are listing the price tag at $150 million or more. This story was first reported by ESPN just four days ago, and it is now likely that a sale will take place by early to mid-February.
Since October, the multi organization Infinite Esports & Entertainment brand has been in a consolidation phase for their business as they have now cut ties or completely shut down several arms of their partner companies in an attempt to fortify the OpTic Gaming and Houston Outlaws banner.
With such shocking changes taking place to the parent company of Infinite Esports, how will this affect Houston’s chances for success in the Overwatch League?
A shift in focus
Texas Esports endeavor into the space has seemingly been cut short after this latest bit of news. The investment group, led by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman, were early investors in Infinite when the company was founded in mid-2017 by Chris Chaney and a few other entrepreneurs.
Last October, Infinite laid off 19 employees and got rid of Chaney in the process, adding Ryan Musselman to oversee the transition of both OpTic Gaming’s League of Legends team and the Houston Outlaws. At the moment, Musselman is Infinite Esports’ top executive for all these operations. In this latest round of consolidation this month, no further employees were laid off.
Most team members that were still a part of dormant Infinite Esports companies like GG Esports Academy, Triggerfish, No Scope Media, Third Label and Innovative Performance Institute have been transferred to specific roles under the OpTic Gaming, Houston Outlaws and Obey Alliance banners. This move comes as a relief to employees under that umbrella as they now have some semblance of job security with way more established esports leagues.
What the future holds
The valuation for Texas Esports rumoured $150 million price tag comes primarily from OpTic Gaming and Houston Outlaws position in the LCS and Overwatch League respectively. Just this year, new slots in the Overwatch League were being valued at anywhere from $35 million to $60 million depending on location. OpTic Gaming’s LCS slot is also highly valuable given the relatively small scene and space they’ve carved out for themselves in just two years.
For what it’s worth, the impending sale did not affect OpTic Gaming or Houston Outlaws ambitions in the offseason as both teams made significant moves to improve their already robust rosters. Houston Outlaws needed desperate upgrades in the DPS position this year, and a lack of moves would’ve made fans question their loyalty but the Outlaws pulled through and made necessary changes where they saw fit.
While the results of these changes still need to be tested on the Overwatch League stage, the end of Houston Outlaws or OpTic Gaming as we know it is still likely not on the table given their resurgence as an organization. With the right moves, the added personnel due to the consolidation may actually be a boost to their success overall as they continue treading through these waters as a competitive team without a parent company at seasons start.