AFL team Essendon enter esports with acquisition of League of Legends roster Abyss

Yet another traditional sports outfit has entered the wonderful world of esports as Australian Football League side Essendon acquire League of Legends roster Abyss.

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The acquisition is in partnership with Executive Sports and Entertainment, a commercial rights negotiation firm based in Sydney. Further details of the deal have not been disclosed. 

The move will see Abyss relocate to Melbourne to integrate with Essendon, and unlike many clubs before them, be fully integrated into the Essenden brand. Examples such as F.C. Copenhagen (North), 76ers (Team Dignitas) are prevalent across esports as traditional sports organisations keep a separate brand although with Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke we have seen clubs venture into esports under their own brand. 

The full integration of Abyss into the Essenden brand will be announced in early 2018, The Age reports. With Abyss moving to Melbourne they will have access to the facilities already in existence for the AFL outfit and will also have dieticians, coaches and gym facilities amongst other areas.

The team will continue to compete in the Oceanic Pro League and the Academy in the Oceanic Challenger Series. The Abyss squad finished third from bottom in 2017’s second split, facing a playoff bracket to avoid relegation to the Challenger Series. Interestingly, their academy team also competed in the very same playoff. Both teams avoided playing against each other but it would have been interesting to see Riot’s stance given their track record with multi-team ownership. 

Abyss ultimately managed to scramble past Outlaws and Tainted Minds to retain their place in the Pro League whilst Abyss Academy couldn’t overcome Tainted Minds in the final game to qualify for the Pro League. 

Esports Insider says: We always encourage more sports teams to get involved, and this is definitely an interesting one. Essenden has gone all in with a League of Legends team which is good to see, and they’ll integrate it into their brand. It’ll be a region to keep an eye on for sure as we see more and more news coming out of Australia.