NAPLES, FLORIDA and HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 14, 2019) – Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: BBGI) (“Beasley” or the “Company”), a multi-platform media company providing advertising and digital marketing solutions across the United States through its radio broadcast and digital operations, announced today that it acquired the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws esports team from an affiliate of Immortals, LLC (d/b/a Immortals Gaming Club).
The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—NASDAQ: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. The Overwatch League will begin its third season in February of 2020, with each of the league’s teams hosting matches in their home markets. The Outlaws will remain officially based in Houston, Texas and will continue to represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets.
Beasley’s acquisition of the Houston Outlaws again expands its role in the fast-growing esports space and reflects the Company’s focus on premium esports programming and content. Beasley’s other investments in esports include Team Renegades (investment in April 2019), an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan and CheckpointXP (acquired Fall of 2018), a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. CheckpointXP programming is currently featured on approximately 70 radio stations across the United States on the Sun Broadcast Network; on daily podcasts on Amazon’s video game streaming platform, Twitch; and, on CheckpointXP On Campus, the first collegiate-based esports show in the US.
Commenting on the transaction, Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform. 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.
“The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws furthers our revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. We believe the power of our media footprint, including 65 highly-rated radio stations in large- and mid-sized markets, combined with our 24/7 coverage of esports news, will allow us to build the value of the Outlaws franchise through a range of revenue sources, including ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licensing, e-commerce, and other partnerships.”
“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, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports and Overwatch League commissioner. “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.”
Caroline Beasley concluded, “This opportunity is another meaningful step forward as we expand Beasley’s involvement in esports, one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment in the US and the world. We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the Houston Outlaws transaction in 2020 as we continue to advance BeasleyXP’s esports initiatives focused on leveraging our premium content and brands across all platforms. We believe this approach will enable us to deliver great local, national, and global content, while creating an even stronger marketing platform for advertisers and enhancing shareholder value.”
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.