NEW YORK — The Madison Square Garden Company (NYSE:MSG) and Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) today announced that MSG has acquired a controlling interest in CLG, a premier North American esports organization with leading teams and a passionate worldwide fan base. With this partnership, MSG significantly expands its presence in the fast-growing world of esports with one of the most successful organizations in the industry, and CLG gains access to MSG’s unmatched expertise in sports business, including marketing partnerships, media rights, event operations, ticketing, merchandise and fan engagement.
CLG was founded in 2010 by owner George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis, a former star “League of Legends” competitor who remains one of the sport’s most renowned global figures. Georgallidis and CLG will continue to run the day-to-day operations of CLG’s esports teams across several of the most well-known games: “League of Legends,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Overwatch,” “Super Smash Bros.,” and “H1Z1.” CLG has one of the original and preeminent teams in “League of Legends,” making the playoffs in every North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring and Summer split since the league’s creation, winning the North American Championship title in Summer 2015 and Spring 2016, and four times representing North America in the League of Legends World Championships in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
“In 2015, Madison Square Garden hosted the sold-out North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Finals – a first for The World’s Most Famous Arena , and a sign that esports was ready to command sports’ biggest stage,” said David O’Connor, President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company . “Since then, as we have been actively exploring opportunities to enhance MSG’s portfolio of live experiences, we have been keenly interested in esports as a natural extension of our core business. The sport now stands on the verge of enormous change, which we believe has the potential to generate significant growth. We are thrilled to be taking this next step with CLG – who won their first North American League Championship Series on that historic night at The Garden in 2015 – and we look forward to collaborating with these influential trailblazers to build their brand in New York.”
“When CLG won at Madison Square Garden it was a defining moment not only for our team, but also our sport,” said Georgallidis. “It’s still only just the beginning for esports. We can’t wait to bring our teams and players to more fans on the world’s greatest stage. We believe MSG, with its exceptional infrastructure, world-class resources and loyal fan bases, will bring us to the next level of growth and exposure, and ensure we continue to compete at the highest levels.”
“As esports moves toward franchise league models similar to the NBA and NHL, we intend to leverage our knowledge and insight into the business of professional sports to play an active role in the development of this exciting industry,” said Jordan Solomon , Executive Vice President of MSG Sports . “We have incredible respect for George and the championship culture he has built, and look forward to utilizing our expertise and media rights to make CLG the preeminent New York esports franchise poised to thrive not only on the business side, but also in competitive play.”