Team Dignitas has hired former NBC Sports esports manager Michael Prindiville as its new CEO, sources close to the organization and its parent, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, told ESPN.
Prindiville is a New York-based former practicing lawyer who went on to a be a producer at NBC Sports in Stamford, Connecticut, before he moved over to a managerial role in new property development for the company in March 2015. Prindiville helped create the Rocket League Universal Open, an NBC-televised and Twitch-streamed esports tournament that was hosted by FACEIT and Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment declined to comment.
Several of Prindiville's first tasks with Team Dignitas will include assessing the organization's future and where it sits after its failed bid for a franchise slot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series in October. Dignitas also did not buy into the Overwatch League.
Sources said Dignitas is considering applying to the European League Championship Series, which is accepting applications for franchise ownership until July and would require Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment to invest $13 million in fees. Dignitas also has been pitched on obtaining an expansion slot in the Overwatch League, with interest in New York and other regions, by league developer Activision Blizzard, sources said. Dignitas has not made decisions on either the EU LCS or Overwatch League franchising.
Prindiville joins Dignitas following the departure of Jonathan Kemp, a former games industry executive who served as the Team Dignitas CEO from October 2016 until early this year. Members of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment team led the executive search for Dignitas over the past few months. The search team included Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment CEO Scott O'Neil, who oversees the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center for the group. Following Kemp's departure, 76ers Innovation Lab managing director Seth Berger held an interim title to oversee Team Dignitas.
"We want a strong leader," O'Neil told ESPN in February, following Kemp's departure. "We want somebody that understands business, a strategic mindset and, preferably, some time in and around the esports space. That's not a must-have. We have some intuition on the future of the business that will either play itself out or not, but we're pretty confident that we have two guys circled who would be outstanding leaders."
Team Dignitas was founded in 2003 by Michael "ODEE" O'Dell. It rose to prominence after success in League of Legends and the Counter-Strike series from 2006 to 2015. Dignitas was acquired by Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, the owners of the 76ers, the Devils and the Prudential Center, in September 2016, with O'Dell remaining in a general management position.
Team Dignitas currently holds teams in a number of titles, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Heroes of the Storm, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Super Smash Bros. and other games.