The e-sports venture of the Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, is expanding again and getting a new name.
The company, which had been called Wise Ventures Esports, is being rebranded as Version1, a name the Eagan-based firm uses with its team in the Rocket League Championship Series.
It is also starting a third e-sports team to participate in the inaugural season of the Valorant Champions Tour, a league for teams that will compete in the multiplayer shooting game created by Riot Games.
Los Angeles-based Riot Games is also known as maker of an e-sports staple: League of Legends.
"With Riot Games at the helm, we're confident Valorant will thrive as an esport just as League of Legends has over the past several years," Jonathan Wilf, president of Version1, said in a statement.
The company launched its first team, Minnesota Røkkr, in fall 2019 to join a league playing Call of Duty, another shooter game. Last summer, it added the team playing Rocket League, a family-friendly game in which cars play soccer in gravity-defying style.
Later this week, all three of the company's teams will be competing as the seasons of their respective leagues overlap for the first time.
Minnesota Røkkr, which has a logo and colors similar to the Vikings NFL team, will keep its name. Future teams developed by the firm will take the Version1 name.
"The timing is right to align our organizational initiatives under the Version1 brand. With three competitive esports teams and plans ahead for continued growth and diversification of our content, we've reached an important milestone," Brett Diamond, chief operating officer of Version1, said in a statement.
The Wilf family, which made its fortune in commercial real estate on the East Coast, co-owns Version1 with Gary Vaynerchuk, a New York marketing executive and investor with ventures in media and technology.
With the rebrand to Version1, the company is also updating the address of its corporate website to version1.gg. The "gg" domain is used by main firms in the electronic games industry.
With the addition of the Valorant team, the Version1 staff now includes 20 people that support 12 players and four coaches for its three teams.
Competitive video gaming or e-sports is a growing multibillion-dollar industry that has created various leagues and teams in a variety of different games. Like its traditional sports counterparts, the leagues and teams attract revenue from sponsors and spectators both online and at in-person competitions.
The Twin Cities is also home to an e-sports team owned by the Minnesota Timberwolves, which won its NBA2K league in 2019, and to Alpine Esports, which owns a Rocket League team that reached the playoffs in its first season last summer.
Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926