The Nets parent company, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday that ESL, the world’s largest esports company, will bring the East Coast’s largest esports tournament to Barclays Center in October. ESports are online video game competitions. Now, as esports grows, big tournaments will be conducted live in large venues like Barclays.
Barclays Center will play host to a US$250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition, with more games joining the tournament’s lineup to be announced in the coming weeks.
Esports has become a top priority for BS&E, Mikhail Prokhorov's "mother ship" for sports and entertainment, particularly CEO Brett Yormark. Yormark told a London sports seminar last October that no only is the group interested in hosting events, but also is pursuing a financial stake in the companies that run esports.
"I'm engaged in some of the ESports developers and IMG and Turner Sports just announced a new initiative in ESports. They're going to play their championships ultimately in a venue. So I'm embracing it. We're in the context business. And from a venue perspective, I've got to embrace all forms of content because I want that content to play out in Brooklyn. So, I've been negotiating, in fact, with those parties to bring some of that content into Brooklyn. From a building perspective, I like it. because we've got 365 days to fill...
"To take it one step further, to the extent that we can participate, from an equity standpoint, we're pursuing that now, too."
Despite Russian currency restrictions, U.S. sanctions and even a raid on the offices of his parent company last month, Prokhorov continues to invest in sports in the U.S. and Russia. In the past six months, he's purchased the remaining shares in the Nets and Barclays Center from Bruce Ratner; acquired 85 percent of the Nassau Coliseum rehab project. BS&E also holds a lease on the Brooklyn Paramount theatre which it hopes to return to is Jazz Age glory as an entertainment venue.
And as part of his Nets investment, Prokhorov purchased an expansion D-League team, the Long Island Nets, and opened the $50 million HSS Training Center.
Ellen Pinchuk, Prokhorov's Moscow-based spokesperson, noted last month that he intends of hang on to the team ... and presumably his other sports assets. "He has no plans to sell the team." Pinchuk told the Post's Page Six.