Believe it or not, esports has existed for five decades already. The first recorded video game competition took place in 1972 at Standford University for a game called Spacewar. However, it has only been recently when investors saw its potential and capitalized on its development. Esports is expected to make profitable growth for the next years and a lot of people recognize that – including celebrities. Here’s our list of some celebrities investing in esports.
Former world heavyweight Mike Tyson who knocked out 44 opponents throughout his boxing career has joined the esports investors club. Tyson recently announced his investment in a Hearthstone professional team, Fade 2 Karma, resulting for an upcoming construct of a gaming facility in California.
As reported on ESPN, “The Ranch House” will include private livestreaming rooms, a performance stage for tournaments, content production and a rooftop party deck, and an exclusive entertainment production studio to be operated by Fade 2 Karma.
After 14 years from retiring, Mike Tyson will once again fight for another victory, this time in esports.
Globally known rapper and singer of the popular song “In My Feelings” has been known to be involved in the success of Ninja’s streaming career. However, the rapper invested more than that in the esports industry. Last year, Forbes reported Drake is now a co-owner of a gaming apparel company, 100 Thieves. 100 Thieves was founded by a former pro Call of Duty player, Matt “Nadeshot” Haag.
After Drake’s involvement in the company, 100 Thieves became a full-fledged esports organization – acquiring new talents, sponsoring teams, making contents, and much more.
Yes, NBA legend Michael Jordan also recognized the potential in esports and joined the investors list. Last year, an investors’ group, Charlotte Hornets (headed by Jordan), put a whopping $26 million dollars into aXiomatic Gaming. Axiomatic is the owner of the esports pro team, Team Liquid, which is one of the most successful teams in the gaming scene. If you don’t remember, Team Liquid snatched the victory in The International two years ago with $25 million prize pot – and that is in Dota 2 alone.
According to the recent evaluation by Forbes, Team Liquid is now worth $200 million. Axiomatic didn’t disclose the amount of Jordan’s investment nor of other investors in the group.
Michael Jordan is not the only professional athlete who acknowledge the idea that the next generation of sports fans are esports fans. Shaquille O’Neal, another NBA legend, contributed financial investment for team RNG, a professional team that competes in League of Legend.
As a result, RNG co-founders and chairmen Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov have become co-owners of Sacramento Kings. Miller did not disclose the number of O’Neal’s investment but following the latest influx of investors in esports, we can assume it is in a sizable amount.
Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher is the last on our list of popular celebrities investing in esports. Ashton Kutcher invested in Unikrn, a betting and entertainment company.
“I’ve had the pleasure of investing and being involved in a number of outstanding startups, and Unikrn stood out because they are completely changing how people engage with eSports,” said Ashton Kutcher in an interview. “eSports are mainstreaming, and Unikrn Arena provides fans with an additional level of excitement not found elsewhere.”