Lithuania’s Top Basketball Club Shoots for Teams in Multiple Esports Titles

  • Rosters will be formed through Baltic esports organizations Gameplay DNA and Baltic Elite.
  • BC Žalgiris is one of the oldest teams competing in the EuroLeague, the top-tier pro basketball competition in Europe.
  • In the U.S., two NBA teams acquired NA LCS Database Link franchise spots for $13M each: the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Basketball Club Žalgiris (BC Žalgiris) has announced in a press conference that it will open an esports division, initially signing rosters in three games: League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone.

BC Žalgiris will also be the first professional sports team to compete in Hearthstone.

The new team brand, titled Žalgiris Esports, will be comprised of players from existing Lithuanian esports team organizations Gameplay DNA and Baltic Elite.

Paulius Motiejunas, club director for BC Žalgiris, cited esports’ ability to reach the youngest audiences, adding that “we want to elevate Lithuanian esports’ impact on the international stage.”

The club initially plans to compete in esports competitions at InfoShow and GameOn, the Baltic’s largest gaming events, and hopes to later compete in ESEA, BESL, DreamHack tournaments, and, eventually, major leagues. BC Žalgiris will also be the first professional sports team to compete in Hearthstone, an esport where many of the top players are free-agents.

Basketball is the national sport of Lithuania, with eight of BC Žalgiris’ players having gone on to play for NBA teams. The club itself plays in the EuroLeague, the continent’s highest-tier pro basketball competition, and the second highest attended next to the NBA. BC Žalgiris’ home court is located at the Žalgiris Arena, a 15K capacity venue in its home city of Kaunas, which is also used for concerts.

The eSports wave

Compared to soccer clubs, basketball franchises have been more open to hosting teams outside their relevant sports titles. In the U.S., the Golden Guardians Database Link and Clutch Gaming Database Link are run by NBA basketball teams, both of whom paid $13M franchise fees to enter the NA LCS. All other teams in the league, minus Team SoloMid Database Link, also have some kind of ownership connection to a North American sports franchise.

By Courtesy The Esports Observer

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