Washington Esports Ventures, led by businessman, investor and entrepreneur Mark Ein has purchased a Washington, DC-based team in the fast growing Overwatch League from Blizzard Entertainment.
Mr. Ein’s acquisition will make him the owner of DC’s first esports team in the Overwatch League, the most prominent, global esports league with teams in cities around the world, including Shanghai, Seoul, London, New York City and Los Angeles. The team’s exclusive territory covers the entire thriving capital region including all of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, collectively the third largest economy in the U.S. and seventh largest in the world.
Mr. Ein is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Investment Corp. IV and Venturehouse Group, LLC, as well as the founder and owner of the six-time World TeamTennis Champion Washington Kastles franchise and owner of Washington City Paper, which he acquired in 2017. Mr. Ein, who will be inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame this November for his professional, civic and philanthropic contributions to the region, is one of eight new high-profile team owners in the multi-city expansion of the Overwatch League, bringing the league total to 20 teams worldwide.
“I deeply believe in the power of sports to inspire people, bring communities together and serve as impactful platforms to give back,” said Mr. Ein. “We believe the Overwatch League, with the backing of Activision Blizzard and its city-based, global model, is the most important platform within esports, and we are thrilled to bring it to our DC community.”
Joining Mr. Ein as part of Washington Esports Ventures are Artist Capital Management, a New York-based growth equity firm, as the lead financial partner and Dyson Dryden, Mr. Ein’s business partner and a Baltimore native. Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, is an anchor supporter of the team.
The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams in Asia, Europe, and North America. Created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard), Overwatch is one of the most popular esports games in the world with more than 40 million players globally, including nearly one million players in the capital region. In its inaugural season, the Overwatch League drew more than 10 million viewers in its first week and fans spent 160 million hours watching the best Overwatch players in the world compete throughout the season. The League has also secured high profile broadcasting agreements, including a two-year deal with Twitch – a live streaming video platform owned by Amazon – and a separate agreement with ESPN and Disney XD. The Overwatch League was ESPN’s first live broadcast of esports in prime time, solidifying the league as an esports heavyweight.
“We are very pleased to welcome Washington Esports Ventures into the Overwatch League,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We set a very high bar for expansion teams, and we’re confident that we have a terrific owner with Mark Ein and his team, who have a great record in traditional sports and building a passionate local fan base.”
As part of Mr. Ein’s continued commitment to the region, the DC Overwatch League team will host a number of activities in addition to the team’s local games including gaming tournaments and fan events, which will draw interest from both within and outside the community. Mr. Ein’s Overwatch League team expands his existing sports team portfolio, which includes ownership of The Washington Kastles in the World TeamTennis league. The Washington Kastles are one the most successful teams in the 45-year history of World TeamTennis and have been embraced by the capital region since its founding in 2008. The Kastles were founded with a community mission and have been often recognized for their contribution to the region including in September 2009 when Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty presented Mr. Ein with the Key to the City, highlighting not only his Washington Kastles success on the court, “but for their commitment to the District’s communities and our youth.”
As an innovative businessman, investor and entrepreneur Mr. Ein has created, acquired, invested in and built a series of growth companies across a diverse set of industries. Over the course of his 25-year career, Mr. Ein has served as a founder or early investor in six companies that reached billion-dollar valuations. He also serves as a civic leader in Washington, DC through his leadership of many leading philanthropic organizations.
“We are excited to welcome the first Overwatch League team to Washington, DC,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “A new global sports platform in Washington, DC means more jobs and entertainment for District residents and a new opportunity to prove ourselves as the Sports Capital.”
“As the District’s official convention and sports authority, Events DC is thrilled that the Overwatch League has awarded a team to Washington, DC and owner Mark Ein. We applaud Mark and his group for their continued commitment to advancing the District of Columbia and surrounding region on both a national and international stage,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “Our three year effort to position DC as an esports capital is now paying off. We look forward to supporting and hosting Overwatch matches and other exciting future esports events in the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Ward 8 of DC.”
Washington Esports Ventures was advised by O’Melveny & Meyers and Latham & Watkins LLP. More information on the DC Overwatch League team can be found at overwatchleaguedc.com.
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About Washington Esports Ventures
Washington Esports Ventures was founded to purchase an Overwatch League Team and build other esports teams that will represent the thriving capital region from Baltimore to Richmond including Washington D.C. and all of Maryland, and Virginia. The Company is led by Mark Ein, a Washington-area businessman, civic leader, philanthropist, sports team owner and native Washingtonian. Mark and his ownership group believe in the power of sports as a platform to inspire people and bring communities together. The Company’s esports assets, including the Overwatch League team, will be part of Mr. Ein’s existing sports platform that owns the Washington Kastles, one the most successful teams in the 45-year history of World TeamTennis and that has been embraced by the Capital region since its founding in 2008. Joining Mr. Ein as investors and board members are Artist Capital Management, a New-York based growth equity firm as the lead financial partner and Dyson Dryden, Mr. Ein’s business partner and a Baltimore native. Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, is an anchor supporter of the team. The Overwatch League team name as well as additional investors and corporate sponsors will be announced shortly.
About Mark Ein
Mark D. Ein is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Venturehouse Group, LLC and Capitol Investment Corp IV. He is an investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who has created, acquired, invested in and built a series of growth companies across a diverse set of industries over the course of his 25-year career. During this time, Mr. Ein has been involved in the founding or early stages of six companies that have been worth over one billion dollars and has led over $1.5 billion of private equity, venture capital and public company investments. Among the current majority-owned companies in the portfolios are Kastle Systems, LLC, the country’s leading provider of building and office security systems acquired in January 2007. He is currently serves as Chairman of the Boards of Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., Capitol Investment Corp IV, VSGi, Inc and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Cision Ltd.
Mr. Ein, a native of the Washington area, is also the founder and owner of the Washington Kastles World TeamTennis (WTT) franchise that has won the league championship six of its eleven years since its founding and set the record for the longest winning streak in US pro team sports history winning 34 straight matches from 2011 through 2013.
A native of the Washington area, he actively supports many community, charitable and cultural organizations and currently serves on the boards of the DC Public Education Fund (raising $120 million of philanthropic support for DC Public Schools since he became Chairman in 2010), DC College Access Program, DC Policy Center (Co-founder), the United States Tennis Association (“USTA”) (where he is a Vice-President of the Board) and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He has won numerous awards including Washington DC Business Leader of the Year from the Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson Award (the nation’s highest honor for public service), Washington Business Journal Top Corporation for Philanthropy by Giving in Small Companies, Washington Business Journal Power 100, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards from Ernst and Young and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). In September 2009, Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty presented Mr. Ein with the Key to the City, highlighting not only his Washington Kastles success on the court, “but for their commitment to the District’s communities and our youth.”
Prior to starting his firm, Mr. Ein worked for The Carlyle Group, Brentwood Associates and Goldman Sachs. He received his BS in Economics with a concentration in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from The Harvard Business School. For more about Mr. Ein, visit www.capinvestment.com.
(Image) Source: Press release