North American esports organisation Pittsburgh Knights has announced that it has received investment from NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh Knights was founded in 2017 and currently competes in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Call of Duty, Fortnite, SMITE, Super Smash Bros., GWENT, and Hearthstone.
Financial details for the investment have not been disclosed at the time of writing, but the announcement explains that the Pittsburgh Steelers will “be supporting [Pittsburgh Knights] as much as possible” by utilising its “seasoned experience and unique skill sets”.
Despite having Pittsburgh in its name and now having the Steelers involved, the organisation was recently on the receiving end of a direct invite to compete in the PUBG Europe League – one of six regional pro leagues for the Battle Royale title – from January 2019.
In July, Pittsburgh Knights announced a sponsorship from frozen pizza brand Totino’s. It’s also partnered with Arma Centrum and Twitch.
This isn’t the first instance of an esports organisation receiving investment from traditional sports teams. NBA side Miami Heat invested in Misfits in January 2017 and Dignitas was invested in by Philadelphia 76ers in the latter half of 2016.
Though slightly different in nature, a number of Overwatch League franchises are also under ownership by figures with direct ties to entities in traditional sports – such as the likes of the Kraft Group and Kroenke Sports.
Esports Insider says: Despite not knowing the financial details, it’s a very encouraging sign for both Pittsburgh Knights and the industry as a whole that yet another traditional sports team has gotten involved in a big way. This move is yet another sign of the two industries slowly bleeding into one another, and with both parties being local to Pittsburgh, this seems like a perfect match.