The Esports boom is real, and the growing industry is proving to be one of the most popular investment avenues for athletes and actors alike. Here are five titans of industry who couldn’t resist getting involved in the world of gaming.
Ever since Shaq’s illustrious basketball career came to a close, it has become abundantly clear that his business savvy is as remarkable as his basketball prowess. It should come as no surprise that The Big Aristotle bought into the Esports industry as well.
In early 2016, Shaq announced that he would join baseball stars A-Rod and Jimmy Rollins as investors into the surging NRG Esports team. The investment turned out to be a bountiful one, as NRG has since acquired Overwatch’s San Francisco franchise and become a very relevant force in the Apex Legends, CS:GO, Rocket League and Smash Brother scenes.
In September 2016, an investment group co-owned by NBA hall-of-famer Magic Johnson took a controlling interest into Team Liquid — one of the most prolific and historic Esports franchises of all time.
Just a year later, Team Liquid took home first place in The International — a Dota 2 tournament that is largely considered the biggest Esports event in the world. Team Liquid’s Dota 2 dominance has helped make them the highest earning Esports team in history, and helped Magic’s legacy as a savvy investor grow even further.
In early 2018, international superstar Drake became an unlikely contributor to the Esports boom when he took to the Fortnite servers with Ninja, streaming on Twitch in what is perhaps one of the most infamous streams of all time. Since then, Drake has continued to dabble in the Esports space, culminating in a $25 million investment into the newly minted 100-Thieves in late 2018.
Colloquially known as 100T, the esports organization is led by Call of Duty mainstay Nadeshot — and has been making their name in the Call of Duty league including a 1st place finish at CWL London. However, 100T’s biggest payday came at the Fortnite World Cup, when Ceice and Elevate won $1.8 million for the organization with a 3rd place finish in the duos portion of the event.
Curry has often talked about his love of video games, both new and old, so it should come as no surprise that the NBA MVP dove head-first into the Esports industry in mid-2018 in the form of a massive investment into Team SoloMid.
Team SoloMid, or TSM, has been a mainstay in the Esports scene for over a decade. With a stake in multiple games including Fortnite, CS:GO, Smash and Call of Duty, TSM has found most of their success in League of Legends, generating nearly $1.5 million in winnings in the popular MOBA.
Steph has not been a silent investor, either. The sharpshooter has appeared in multiple TSM productions and even invited TSM superstars Myth and Hamlinz on his own YouTube show — 5 Minutes From Home With Steph Curry.
Will Smith is well known for his remarkable talent that spans across multiple industries, including an eye for a fruitful investment. In April of 2019, Smith invested into one of the most valuable Esports organizations in the world — Generation Gaming (Gen.G).
Gen.G’s foothold in the Esports space is remarkable, with established Overwatch, PUBG and League of Legends teams. However, Gen.G’s most successful gaming roster is their powerful Heroes of the Storm team which brought home a $500,000 payday when they took gold in the 2018 Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Grand Finals.