Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Jed Kaplan and his investment group have made a seven-figure investment into esports with the creation of Simplicity, the organization told theScore esports Wednesday. Kaplan, who is also a minority owner of Premier League soccer club Swansea City, will act as managing partner.
In a statement to theScore esports, director of marketing Jeremy "Lambzy" McLamb confirmed that the organization's first roster would be the Heroes of the Storm team Old Gods. The decision to start in Heroes of the Storm, Lambzy said, came down to the scene's recent growth.
"I’ve been able to see how Heroes has grown the past couple of years and I think the scene is on the right path," Lambzy said. "I know there is a lot of passion from everyone involved, and we want to do everything we can to help the continued development of the HotS community."
The roster features a number of veteran HotS pros that have played since the game's early competitive scene, and the team holds a spot in phase one of the 2018 Heroes Global Championship's North American Pro League. The lineup includes Raphael "Hosty" Tsantili, Aaron "erho" Kappes, Keiwan "k1pro" Itakura, John Paul "KingCaffeine" Lopez and Christopher "Zuna" Buechter.
"There are a few reasons why I wanted this team, and really they come down to two big ones. The first being that the entire team shares the same vision for Simplicity that I do," Lambzy explained. "The second being these guys really are Old Gods of HotS, and you can see that by the accomplishments of everyone on the roster."
While Lambzy could not confirm for certain where the organization might next seek to expand, he said that they were looking at different possibilities.
"We are looking into opportunities inside of FGC, FPS, and the battle royale games,” he said.
The 2018 HGC NA Pro League kicks off at 7 p.m. EST on Friday, January 19.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.