Ever since the Sixers dove head first into the tank pool they've been commanding the interest of NBA fans — and of young people across the country.
They sacrificed three, and possibly more entire seasons to invest in a promising future.
They're looking forward on and off the court.
It's the new generation of Millennials, now coming into a position of purchasing power, who will hold the future of success for NBA franchises in their hands. And whether it's the 76ers saturating social media with their young superstars at training camp — like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid — or diversifying into the Esports world, the ownership group that runs the Sixers, New Jersey Devils and a handful of other sports commodities is targeting youth.
Scott O'Neil, the Sixers CEO proudly purchased two Esports franchises: Team Dignitas and Team Apex. These squads compete in five games — Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Smite. The two will combine the two into one ultra-competitive team and is continuing to push forward into sports' future in America.
"The attractiveness of this deal is as much about the people as it is the opportunity," O'Neil said. "This is a landmark day in Esports history and for this franchise. Entering into a partnership with such a strong organization will give us an undeniable advantage in attracting the world's best players and an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Our connection to the legendary Philadelphia 76ers brand and business organization will be a differentiating factor for Team Dignitas as we enter the next phase of our development."
The Sixers have already started pushing the boundaries of sports in the United States, having announced last season they would implement the first ever on-jersey advertisement — a small patch advertising their partners at Stubhub.
The team has also spent a boatload of money creating what they call the best (and largest) sports training facility in the entire country — which recently opened in Camden. The facility is 125,000-square-feet. It includes two NBA regulation-size basketball courts, a 2,800-square-foot player locker room, and state-of-the-art performance, wellness, recovery, and hydrotherapy rooms. The basketball training facility was conceived to be a 24/7 destination for elite NBA and front office talent with amenities including a player restaurant, private balcony, film, and press room.
Clearly, their league-low payroll last season (which has already started to creep up) is not an indication of what kind of franchise the Sixers intend to be. The team will have youth on the hardwood, and they hope youth in the stands as well.
And perhaps they'll play an integral role in the every-expanding Esports world, which is approaching 300 million followers and exceeded $463 million in revenue last year.