The company behind upcoming movie awards hit La La Land has become an investor in popular eSports team Immortals.
The team, which competes in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Counter-Strike Go, is already backed by major names in sports and investment, including Michael Milken, Steve Kaplan and Gregory Milken.
Lionsgate believes eSports will transform the world of sport and says its distribution networks will allow it to reach a broader audience. The firm, via its company Pilgrim (where it is a majority shareholder), had already partnered with ESL to create original eSports content for TV and streaming services.
Immortals chairman Clinton Foy compares the organisation's work in eSports to the birth of major US Sports such as NBA.
"Lionsgate joins a dream team of media, tech and traditional sports partners who share our vision of building a dynamic Immortals organisation and a strong e-sports foundation," he said in a statement. "What we're doing today in eSports is like the early days of building the NFL and NBA. It's not the evolution of games - it's the evolution of sports, technology and media."
Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures and Games Peter Levin added: "We're delighted to be an early mover in a market that has the potential to transform the face of sports entertainment. Our involvement in eSports creates tremendous opportunities to develop new content and utilize our suite of distribution platforms for a coveted consumer demographic with compelling engagement metrics. Collaborating with an elite group of partners, the combination of the Lionsgate and Immortals brands will be formidable."