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Madison Square Garden Partners with Counter Logic Gaming

12 September 2017 16:24

Madison Square Garden is an iconic venue in New York City, predominantly known for basketball, ice hockey and music concerts. After striking a deal with premier North American eSports team Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), you could well soon add regular eSports competitions to that mix.

The Madison Square Garden Company officially formed a partnership with CLG after the sports entertainment company bought a controlling interest in the Los Angeles-based eSports team. This is the first deal of its kind and one that may have come as a surprise to many fans of the team, but it’s a move that could pave the way for major eSports teams to begin to develop a ‘home stadium’ that is common in other sports. Whilst the Madison Square Garden (MSG) arena may be the most famous stadium in the group’s possession, it also boasts a vast property collection that includes Radio City Music Hall and The Chicago Theatre, both of which are world renowned for the events they host outside of eSports.

MSG’s eSports History

It must be said that MSG is no stranger to eSports, as the stadium played host to the semi-finals of the 2016 LoL World Championships, before the finals moved on to Los Angeles. Before this major event, the finals of the League of Legends NA LCS Summer series in 2015 were exclusively held in New York. Which team won the finals that year? That’s right, Counter Logic Gaming. Had Team SoloMid, their opponents back in 2015, known they were potentially playing for stadium rights two years down the line then the match may have been even more intense! CLG have only had one significant win since that tournament (again over Team SoloMid) so will hope the added investment can boost them back to the pinnacle of the NA LCS.

NA LCS Franchise System

Of course, to return to the top of the NA LCS, CLG will have to be accepted into the new franchise model that is beginning for the 2018 season by Riot Games. This partnership can only boost their potential chances, after now being able to boast easily the most high profile home stadium in the entire eSports world.

Those eSports events that have been held at MSG have been extremely successful, and have likely paved the way for eSports tournament finals to be held in huge stadiums at all premier events. For example, the 2017 LoL World Championships will be held in the 91,000-seat Beijing stadium that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. Should the LoL World Championships return to North America there is a good chance that MSG could find itself top of the list to host the finals, especially if it makes a success of regularly hosting eSports events.

Other than unrivalled access to the most popular arena in the world, what do CLG get out of this partnership? The Madison Square Garden Company detailed in its press release that CLG will gain access to "unmatched expertise in sports business, including marketing partnerships, media rights, event operations, ticketing, merchandise and fan engagement", all of which sound potentially useful should it come off. Up until now the sports that are frequently held at MSG are completely different to eSports in terms of fan demographics.  If CLG can be the first major US eSports team to branch out into a completely new fanbase, they could jump the curve and find themselves as fan favourites already as eSports grows.


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Updated on: 2017-09-12

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