Veteran Financier Jason Sugarman Talks Investing in E-Sports

Jason Sugarman is best known for his private equity and debt-based investing. He has also made a fortune in the asset-based lending sector. So it comes as a surprise to some that Mr. Sugarman’s latest endeavor is e-sports investing. Perhaps, not so surprising to his closest friends. Mr. Sugarman is a famous sports lover and has made a number of investments in traditional sports. He is one of the many famous investors in the Los Angeles Football Club, which will debut next year. He owns several other sports teams including the Oklahoma City Dodgers. So how does a football loving financier bet his stakes on online games like Overwatch?

The Next Big Sports Investment

E-sports is already raking in massive profits. For Mr. Sugarman, who regularly deals with major profit-making sports, investing in e-sports is only natural. E-sports refers to games that are played via an electronic system, like a gaming console or a computer. Video gaming is no longer a cornered subculture. The industry earns billions in profits each year, and established titles, like Halo and Starcraft, have huge global followings. There’s a lot of money to be made in e-sports for both developers and sports investors.

It’s estimated that e-sports revenue may pass the $1 billion markers by 2019. In 2015, the industry made about $325 million, over a 40 percent increase over the annual profits of the previous year. It’s hard to believe that the growth of the industry could be stalled, especially when countries like China are adding new games each year.

Mr. Sugarman’s interest in e-sports follows his love of classic games like football and baseball. Sure, there’s a lot that can be made by investing in teams. But there’s also the thrill of the game that surpasses profit motives. So far, Mr. Sugarman is still a “noob” or a newcomer when it comes to e-sports. He is not heavily involved in playing the games, but closely watches rising talent that gets ranked globally.

Team Liquid

Mr. Sugarman’s choice e-sports team is Team Liquid, one of the biggest in the whole gaming world. He has made considerable investments in the team. He is not alone. A number of other celebrities have also invested in Team Liquid, including easily recognizable business celebs like Tony Robbins, the “CEO whisperer,” Paul Schaeffer of Mandalay Entertainment, and Eric Lefkofsky, the co-founder of Groupon. Even the basketball luminary Magic Johnson is an investor in the team. Team Liquid is a star player in immensely popular online games like StarCraft 2, Overwatch, and Halo.

Are Virtual Sports the Future?

While Mr. Sugarman is quite excited about his e-sports investments, his mind is never off his real sports passion, football. He believes that e-sports will play a major role in the future, but do not think that it will be able to surpass classic sports like football.

Jason Sugarman Talks about What He Loves Best

Jason Sugarman, the veteran private equity investor, is ready to talk about what he loves best after his family: sports. The financier has made quite a name for himself investing in professional sports teams, including Los Angeles Football Club, and Oklahoma City Dodgers. Mr. Sugarman also has investments in the e-sports teams Team Liquid, Marucci, and DSG Golf. He is also an active investor in L.A’s ever thriving restaurant scene as well.

Investing in LA Football Club with Celebrities

Mr. Sugarman is an investor in the Los Angeles Football Club, along with some other 26 people including former major athletes such as Magic Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra, and Mia Hamm. Both sports and movie star names are nothing new to the Club’s ownership team. Early last year, superstar comedian Will Ferrell became a part owner of the team. The Club’s ownership team is estimated to have a net worth over $4.5 billion.

Plans are already underway for the Club to have its own stadium at the Exposition Park, right nearby where the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will soon be. The club is dropping a whopping sum of $350 million for its future home. The stadium will have an open-air design and high-end NFL-style amenities like private suites and a rooftop bar, according to Los Angeles magazine.

The L.A. Football Club is scheduled to debut in 2018 season with an in-house trained team. Right now, fans can get a peek at the Club’s activities on its official website.

Investing in Innovative Restaurants in L.A.

Mr. Sugarman, an alumnus of Stanford University, is a dedicated foodie who has invested in some of the best restaurants in L.A., including a chain of local BBQ restaurants in Orange County, The Viper Room, El Dorado, The Six at Studio City, new grass fed hamburger restaurant. The Viper Room is a legacy restaurant in the city frequented by A-list celebrities like Johnny Depp. It was once a favorite diner of Johnny Cash.

Mr. Sugarman loves classic American dishes, and he invests in restaurants that serve mostly American cuisine. It’s not always easy in L.A., where tastes are for gluten-free, low-calorie, vegan, and mostly sugar-free dishes. The foodie scene in the city has been reinventing itself to match the tastes of high-flying millennials as well as traditionalists always in the search for the perfect pork chop. Mr. Sugarman, himself a fan of both fusion and classic style dishes, prefers to invest in restaurants that focus on quality and innovation with an eye out for improving social engagement.

What’s Next for Jason Sugarman?

Mr. Sugarman is expected to continue with his significant sports investments in the future. He will be heavily invested in the debut of the L.A. Football Club, which has ambitious plans for the future. He will continue his involvement in the ever rising e-sports sector as well. As a restaurateur investor, he hopes to pour his money into both new and old establishments that embody the foodie spirit of the city. Mr. Sugarman would mainly be invested in his sports portfolio that he hopes to expand in the coming years.

Jason Sugarman has High Hopes for LAFC

Jason Sugarman, the noted private equity financier, has a new obsession on his portfolio—the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). The well-known sports fan is focusing all his efforts on the LAFC’s public debut scheduled to be during the 2018 soccer season. Mr. Sugarman is a prolific sports investor who has stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Oakland Raiders. He’s been involved in fantasy sports as well. However, LAFC just might be his most ambitious sports investment yet.

What is the LAFC?

The Los Angeles Football Club is the newest Major League Soccer team in crowded L.A. The team is co-owned by about 27 people, including Sugarman. The LAFC’s star studded investment team includes former major athletes like Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm, and Magic Johnson, as well as Hollywood stars like Will Ferrell. LAFC’s superstar ownership team is estimated to be worth about $4.5 billion.

The team is being overseen by John Thorrington, the South African born executive vice president of soccer operations for LAFC. Thorrington was trained as a young player at the famous Manchester United academy and played in Europe for about eight years. He has been in charge of LAFC’s technical aspects since 2015.

LAFC’s investors like Mr. Sugarman intend the team to rise to the top of the second largest sports market in America. The team plans to debut for the MLS’ 23rd team in 2018, and it will do so with a bang. The team is building an out of this world stadium in L.A.’s Exposition Park, right next to the Coliseum.

The Banc of California Stadium

LAFC’s flagship stadium, called the Banc of California Stadium, will be located close to major attractions like the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park. The Club is dropping over $350 million on the stadium to make it a state-of-the-art attraction for sports fans. The building work is still underway. The stadium will feature an open-air design. The developers are planning hip amenities that rival NFL’s, like rooftop bars, and luxurious private suites.

LAFC is also renovating the old Cal State L.A. stadium as a training complex. The Club has spent $30 million on renovations, which is the third largest investment in Major League soccer history for a training facility. Only Real Salt Lake and Atlanta United teams have invested more in training complexes. LAFC is heavily renovating and building new units to make the training complex suitable for modern use.

LAFC Teams

As the Club is yet to debut, there are no professional teams associated with the franchise. However, LAFC has a fully funded academy with U-12 USSDA accreditation. Currently, the Academy is training 26 young players who will debut in 2018. The LAFC is currently in the process of adding new young players to U12, U13, and U14 teams.

Mr. Sugarman firmly believes that the LAFC’s planned 2018 debut will be nothing short of spectacular. The Club’s stadium is already attracting attention for its grand scale if nothing else. It seems that the LAFC has a bright future ahead.