Celebrities who have invested in eSports20th August 2019
eSports is a rapidly growing industry that, since its inception, hasn’t been able to stop hitting the headlines.
Recently, the first-ever Fornite World Cup was held in which 16-year old Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf netted himself a staggering $3 million for becoming the world’s-first Fortnite World Cup solo champion. While at first it might seem as though eSports is an industry that attracts younger audiences, it is also an investment opportunity that many celebrities have endeavoured to become a part of.
From NBA all-stars through to music industry titans and Hollywood A-listers, here is a list of some celebrities who have invested in the world of eSports.
One of the most recent celebrities to have invested into eSports is the 15-time NBA all-star Kevin Garnett, who has also won the NBA MVP award.
Garnett invested in Triumph eSports – a newly formed company. He is investing into Triumph through his experiential event management and production company, Big Ticket Sports LLC. While Garnett is one of the more recent celebrities to invest in eSports, he is far from the first NBA player to have done so. Garnett’s venture into eSports marks another step in a growing line of NBA legends to have invested in the emerging industry.
Music mogul, industry behemoth and hip-hop icon, Drake, is another celebrity to have invested in eSports.
Though, his name on this list shouldn’t be too surprising, considering he has previously appeared on Twitch with streaming veteran Ninja to play Fortnite.
The Toronto-born star is the co-owner of 100 Thieves, a lifestyle, apparel and eSports brand with Scooter Braun.
Drake’s co-ownership didn’t materialise out of nowhere, he first partnered with 100 Thieves following his tour to celebrate the release of his ‘Scorpion’ album, which was released in June 2018.
There is a wide array of NBA players to have invested in eSports, though perhaps none more famous than the legendary Michael Jordan who has become synonymous with basketball.
The six-time championship winner – who is a majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets – invested in Team Liquid’s parent company, aXiomatic.
Investing into aXiomatic is Jordan’s first foray into eSports.
Interestingly, aXiomatic has deep ties with NBA behemoths with ‘Magic’ Johnson being a co-owner and Golden State Warrior’s co-owner Peter Guber also serving as a co-executive chairman.
Hollywood A-lister, Ashton Kutcher, who first became famous for his role in ‘That 70s Show’ is another celebrity to have made a mark in the eSports world.
Kutcher, alongside Guy Oseary, through their Sound Ventures investment firm invested in the eSports gaming startup Unikrn.
Unikrn is a betting platform the eSports market in the UK and Australia. It is licensed to provide these services, having received the gambling license from the Isle of Man back in 2018.
Former three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, former VeriSign CEO Stratton Sclavos and ex-Spectrum Business Ventures CEO Amit Raizada previously created an investment fund solely for eSports.
The investment fund is known as Vision eSports LP and has had several notable names invest into the fund.
Among those names are none other than NBA all-star Kevin Durant, alongside NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The pair – together with the St Louis Cardinals – featured in a capital raise which saw a remarkable $38 million added to the eSports investment fund.
NRG eSports – which has teams competing in League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – is yet another eSports company to have house-hold names vested in the business.
Most notably for NRG eSports, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has invested in one of the team’s financing rounds.
The teams are owned by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov who also happen to be minority partners of the Sacramento Kings alongside Shaq.
Last year Swift, the parent company of eSports organisation Team SoloMid, raised $37 million in its first round of funding.
One of the NBA’s current superstars happened to partake in the funding round. The player in question is none other than Golden State Warrior’s Stephen Curry.
Curry was joined by Twitch chief strategy officer Colin Carrier and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang in the funding round, marking multiple monoliths to have invested into Team SoloMid.
Steve Aoki, best-known for his EDM music, is another celebrity to have dipped his toes into the water of eSports.
Back in 2016 he announced that he would be entering the eSports world during a live performance at TwitchCon in San Diego.
Aoki invested in the Rogue Team, which derive from Las Vegas. The team specialise in Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Aoki is a self-described gamer, having also played Overwatch with members from Team Liquid, another eSports team.