The Bay Area is about to be home to a new team, courtesy of the Golden State Warriors’ ownership. That team is none other than Golden Guardians, a squad dedicated to professional play of League of Legends. eSports have quickly skyrocketed into the realm of public consciousness, with an estimated over 375 million viewers watching broadcasts of everything from Call of Duty to Rocket League. Kirk Lacob, vice president of Warriors Ventures, says that the team is investing $13 million into the Golden Guardians initial roster.

“It’s an opportunity to reach a whole demographic of people who love this sort of thing, who live online, have online communities,” said  Lacob. “We can really bridge the gap here.” Lacob’s comments are in reference to the fact that the Golden Guardians is a team that will be comprised entirely of American players, a rarity in the eSports community. The 25-person roster is comprised of professionals culled from the League of Legends player community, ranging from 17-25 years of age. Warriors ownership signed the players to contracts and set them up in a house. The team has coaches, stretching routines, meal plans, and a practice schedule.

League of Legends is a wise investment from an eSports perspective, considering its finals drew in 43 million unique viewers last year. Anyone in the professional gaming community knows that eSports is drawing huge numbers of fans to their competitions. Latching on now is simply a matter of being prescient, but Lacob admits there’s some risk here. “Esports is a hot term right now,” Lacob said. “We know we don’t know everything. We’re excited to continue to learn and see other ways that this can be a moneymaker and just really grow as a global sport.”

The team was recently revealed during halftime at a Golden State Warriors game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The introduction didn’t seem especially rousing, but the Warriors at least made a show of it. As time goes on, we’ll see if the people in the Bay Area take to the Golden Guardians. Will you be watching the team play? Share with us in the comments and on social media!

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