Lee Zieben reportedly set to purchase Houston Outlaws

Houston-based real state investor Lee Zieben has agreed in principal to purchase Overwatch League franchise Houston Outlaws, according to a report from ESPN.

Houston Outlaws is currently owned by Immortals Gaming Club, which acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment in June.

Houston Outlaws Acquisition
Photo credit: Overwatch League

It isn’t a done deal yet however, with the acquisition expected to be closed by the end of August. According to the report, Zieben has a binding letter of intent with Immortals Gaming Club, the company that also owns the Los Angeles Valiant franchise. Due to rules set by Activision Blizzard, only one franchise can be owned by a single company.

The total value of the deal, should it go through, is reported to be $40 million (£32.9 million). If the acquisition goes through in its current form, Zieben will pay $30 million (£24.7 million) in cash and securities and will take on the $10 million (£8.2 million) debt owed in remaining franchising fees. When Infinite Esports & Entertainment first purchased one of the 12 slots for the Overwatch League, it cost $20 million (£16.5 million).

When Immortals Gaming Club acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment, it took over ownership of OpTic Gaming, the OpTic Gaming LCS franchise, and Houston Outlaws. The OpTic Gaming brand will only exist in the upcoming Call of Duty League, the OpTic Gaming franchise in the LCS will be rebranded to Immortals in 2020, and Houston Outlaws was required to be sold as soon as possible.

Esports Insider says: While it’s good to see the ownership problem surrounding Houston Outlaws being resolved rather quickly, the most important things now will be Zieben surrounding himself with experienced people who can adequately run the franchise and him not expecting a quick return on his money.

ESI London 2019 - Find out more