During a press conference at Žalgirio Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania, the Žalgiris Basketball Club announced it would be expanding into competitive eSports. The brand will create three new teams – all known as Žalgiris – focused on tackling competitive Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

The club’s director, Paulius Motiejunas, explained the move as a natural step to keep up with the evolving world of sports, and hopefully establish the Žalgiris brand beyond basketball.

“The power of eSports allows to reach the youngest audiences,” Mr. Motiejunas said. “This industry is rapidly growing and Žalgiris is happy to join the ranks. Žalgiris is a household name in basketball and we want to elevate Lithuanian eSports’ impact in the international stage”

Žalgiris will be working with Gameplay DNA and Baltic Elite to help form its teams, with an eye to compete in this year’s InfoShow and GameOn – the Baltic’s largest eSports competitions. Other tournaments such as the E-Sports Entertainment Association League (ESEA), the Baltic eSports League (BESL) and Dreamhack are also being considered.

The Žalgiris brand began with the establishment of the Žalgiris Basketball Club in 1944, making it one of Europe’s oldest. The club recently claimed the KMT Cup, and is currently participating in the Euroleague play-offs.