Neil Leibman is a co-owner of the Texas Rangers and a heavy investor/promoter of esports. With his new role in the MLB franchise, tremendous possibilities exist for cross-promotion.
The Dallas metro is home to MLB’s Texas Rangers and esports brand OpTic Gaming. Those two entertainment organizations have more than just geography in common. Both are part of the investment portfolio of Neil Leibman, and Leibman’s new larger role with the former could have some exciting implications.
The Summer Energy CEO was already serving as the chairman of the Rangers’ ownership committee, but on Friday, April 6, was given the title of chief operating officer as well. The timing of the move is quite suggestive.
In November of 2017, Leibman created a holding company called Infinite Esports & Entertainment. Under Leibman’s direction, Infinite wasted no time in investing in franchises in both the League of Legends North American League Championship Series and the Overwatch League through its majority stake in OpTic Gaming.
Perhaps most indicative that something larger is brewing behind the scenes is the unprecedented investment that the City of Arlington, where Globe Life Park (the home of the Rangers) lies, has made in esports with a dedicated facility. Construction plans for a 90,000-sq. ft. event space the primary purpose of which will be housing esports events has been announced by the city.
With Leibman now holding greater sway over the Rangers’ day-to-day business, the likelihood that Infinite brands and events at the esports stadium will be promoted at Rangers games increases. It’s more likely the Rangers might sponsor events at the stadium or at some point host an esports event at Globe Life Park now as well.
If that does come to fruition at some point in the near future, it could very well be the first time a facility whose anchor tenant is an MLB franchise would put on an esports event. If the event is a success, the Rangers could be trend-setters in that regard. While the New York Yankees broke the ice with an investment in esports in December, Yankees Stadium has yet to host an esports event.
This is all speculative, but the dots are so aligned it’s difficult not to connect them. Leibman’s new role with the Rangers could mean a new day not just for the MLB team, but for esports in the Dallas metro as well.