Levy is among a group of new investors in Andbox, which owns franchised teams in both the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League. He will also chair the company’s advisory board.
Other investors announced Thursday include Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal, Harry’s CEO Jeff Raider and The Infatuation CEO Chris Stang. Though terms weren’t released, Andbox was looking to raise as much as $40 million earlier this year.
This move isn’t Levy’s first foray into esports. Back in 2015, he helped Turner create ELeague, a competitive gaming league launched in partnership with WME/IMG. It was among the first major esports investments by a U.S. media giant.
“I’ve always been a believer, but I’m a bigger believer now than I was even in 2016,” Levy said. “When I think of it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you’re at the full extent of your reach, NFL football might be at a 9. It has some room for expansion, but it’s at the tail end of its growth. Esports is at a 1.5 or a 2, and will grow like crazy.”
Andbox’s teams include the New York Subliners (Call of Duty) and the New York Excelsior (Overwatch). The group is also expanding its business beyond the franchised teams—including a merchandise arm, an events division, a college tournament platform and plans to build Andbox-branded gaming centers across the New York metro area. It hopes to become the go-to esports organization for the country’s largest media market.
“Andbox is in the best franchise market of all time,” Levy said. “Look at what the Mets just sold for. They sold for around $2.45 billion because of the New York market and the opportunity in New York from the standpoint of consumers and fanbases.”
Levy spent three decades at TimeWarner, where he ran the company’s U.S. portfolio of networks, ad sales and distribution. He also spearheaded the company’s sports portfolio, which includes the NBA, PGA, MLB and NCAA.
Levy’s been active since leaving Turner. He had a two-month stint as CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, and launched his own sports consulting and investment firm, Back Nine Ventures. He’s a senior advisor to Arctos Partners, a private equity firm that makes investments in sports, and the Raine Group, a boutique investment bank that was hired to help Andbox raise money. (Levy said that while he wasn’t working on the Andbox account at Raine, he came at the deal both through pre-existing relationships with Mets executives, and through his work at the bank).
Andbox was launched in 2019 by Sterling.VC, an early-stage investment fund backed by Sterling Equities—the family office whose assets include the Mets (for now) and their regional TV network. Other prior Andbox investors include actor Michael B. Jordan, investment bank Allen & Co., and Vindex co-founders Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni.