11 Celebrity eSports Investors you Didn’t Know About

It’s not just venture capitalists hopping aboard the hype train.

Breakthrough
Aug 29, 2018 · 9 min read

The world of eSports is rapidly growing with investors going in every day.

It’s not just venture capitalists and silent investors hopping aboard the hype train of eSports. Every week you see a new celebrity’s name in the news about how they are investing in eSports.

Here are some of the most notable recent investors in eSports that you might not have heard of.

Steph Curry

The two-time MVP and perhaps greatest shooter in NBA history is money in his investments as well.

Recently, he was part of a round of funding for Team SoloMid, which reached a total of $37 million in first round funding. Perhaps the ironic part about this is how he will be going up against his own organization: The Golden State Warriors.

TSM is a part of the North American League of Legends championship series. During the 2018 spring split TSM finished with a record of 13 wins and 7 losses.

Golden Guardians was at the bottom of the standings, with 4 wins and 14 losses. The summer split is currently coming to a close with TSM holding an 8–8 record, while Golden Guardians are 5 and 11. (Nice to know the Warriors lose at something.)

Shaquille O’Neal

The Big Diesel hasn’t always had the best reputation in video games.

The infamous 1994 2D fighter Shaq Fu is considered one of the worst games in all of history.

But that hasn’t stopped The Big Aristotle from getting back into the gaming industry. Shaq has invested in a multitude of different eSports organizations. Most famously, joining several other investors in NRG eSports (one of whom you will see later in the list).

Overall, the group raised $15 million in the investing round. NRG is a part of the Overwatch League with the San Francisco Shock, and also carries teams in games like Rocket League, Smash, Smite, Hearthstone, Fortnite, For Honor, CS:GO, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Clash Royale.

Shaq has also been a visible part of eSports with commercials for the San Francisco Shock, as well as appearing in a series of advertisements for eLeague. One of which you can see right here.

And if that’s not enough for you for the Shaq Daddy, he’s also acting general manager for the Sacramento Kings NBA 2K eSports franchise kings guard gaming.

Jerry Jones

The much-maligned owner of the Dallas Cowboys has thrown his ten-gallon cowboy hat into the ring for eSports.

The 75-year-old is hoping to strike it on some digital oil by investing as the majority owner in CompLexity Gaming. CompLexity has teams and players competing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft and Gwent leagues.

Now the team will be moving headquarters as well as their training facility to the Star in Frisco, Texas. For you football fans, that’s the same place as where the Dallas Cowboys train.

Rick Fox

Slick Rick carved himself a nice career in the NBA, playing for 13 years and winning three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

While he never broke records or rocked the NBA, Mr. Fox has certainly helped changed the game for eSports.

While he wasn’t the first to introduce Concepts like physical training in nutrition to eSports teams, the Echo Fox owner has certainly “enhanced” it. Rick has brought in nutritionists, developed strength and conditioning programs, and even mental conditioning programs for his players.

Rick sees the drive for greatness that some of these players have, comparing some of their passion and drive to NBA legends like Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird.

The dude knows a winner when he sees one.

Robert Kraft

There were times during the Overwatch League season where you could cut the tension with a razor. Perhaps… a Gillette razor.

Boston Uprising owner Robert Kraft would be more than happy to provide those razors, considering he owns the Gillette company. Right, enough about razors, Robert Kraft is making sure that Jerry Jones isn’t the only NFL billionaire in the eSports scene.

As the owner of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution, Robert Kraft is one of the most prominent Sports personalities in Boston. While his soccer team, Revolution isn’t exactly the model to follow, the dynasty he has created with the New England Patriots shows this man knows what it takes to build champions and dynasties.

The Uprising had a shaky start to the season, finishing in the middle of the pack 3 out of 4 stages, along with disgusting accusations for former player DreamKazper. But the team was able to rally off a perfect 10 and 0 record during the third stage and finish the season with the third best record of 26–14.

This team has shown flashes of brilliance in competition, despite being considered one of the least talented teams before the season’s start.

Robert Kraft is savvy sports mind, and you should watch out for an Uprising in season 2.

Alex Rodriguez

An A-Bomb! From A-Rod!

If you haven’t heard, NRG eSports has one of the most star-studded groups of investors.

While their Overwatch League team the San Francisco Shock, never lived up to the hype they generated (finishing 9th out of 12 and a record of 17 wins in 23 losses), their Rocket League team is considered one of the best in the world.

Arguably one of the best pure hitters ever in the sport of baseball, Mr. Rodriguez is swinging for the fences with eSports. Not only is the three-time American League MVP an investor in NRG eSports, also serves on the board of directors.

A more active member behind the scenes, Alex has invested twice in NRG. Once during an initial funding round, and second during the same round as Jennifer Lopez, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Strahan, and several other famous athletes.

Hopefully we don’t see reports about players on the juice in the future!

Ashton Kutcher

The actor-turned-venture-capitalist Ashton Kutcher certainly knows a winning team when he sees one.

Having invested in companies like Skype, Airbnb, and many others. Ashton’s investments show that he’s a forward-thinking man who sees the digital future of commerce. Especially with his most recent investment into Unikrn, a cryptocurrency-backed betting platform. Other investors in this platform include the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin.

Despite keeping a relatively low profile as an investor, Ashton actually owns his own investment platform, Sound Ventures, and has invested in over 60 different companies.

He’s also recently appeared on the new broadcasting platform Caffeine and his investment firm even featured them on their website. Perhaps we shall see him investing in the near future?

Mark Cuban

If you ever watch MSNBC show Shark Tank, you’ll notice that Mark Cuban is the go-to guy for anything computer or technology.

It’s no surprise, after all he made his riches in computers. eSports has long been on Mr. Cuban’s radar.

A long-time defender of eSports, Mark has invested in several different areas of the growing industry. His Dallas Mavericks were one of the first teams to join the aforementioned 2K League.

He also invested in Unikrn, and keeps his ear to the ground on the industry.

Appearing in conferences and tournaments, Mark argues for the value of eSports, saying “You can’t find a kid 14-to-21 (years old) that doesn’t know about it.”

However, don’t expect him to buy any other teams anytime soon. Cuban has gone on the record about his worries for player burnout. Of course, ESPN’s president regularly decried eSports less than a year before ESPN began broadcasting and covering eSports. So, you never really know what the mouthy Mavs owner could do next.

Steve Aoki

Here’s a fun fact: EDM artist Steve Aoki isn’t the first major investor in his family.

His father was actually the founder of the restaurant chain Benihana, and his brother is a successful entrepreneur as well. So, it’s no surprise that the forty-year-old musician, gamer, and Twitch streamer jumped on the eSports bandwagon in 2016. Aoki announced his investment at Twitch Con where he invested in Rogue for an undisclosed amount. Aoki said he’d be a “hands on investor”.

Rogue continued as a powerhouse in the eSports realm dominating the early Overwatch scene along with strong showings in Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six Siege.

Among other ventures, Rogue recently hopped into the Fortnite realm as well.

Steve’s brand appears on all Rogue jerseys, and he commonly appears with the team at major events. In 2018, Rekt Global purchased Rogue.

The band Imagine Dragons invested shortly thereafter in Spring 2018. You’d expect their montages to have some banging music!

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson might just be the most successful athlete-turned-investor ever.

With an estimated net worth north of $500 million, Magic certainly knows a thing or two about investing.

And invested he has, especially in sports.

Magic Johnson is a part owner in teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks, and the Los Angeles football club, (you can tell he has a thing for LA, can’t you?) but it doesn’t just stop there.

He’s also the part owner in aXiomatic, an entertainment in sports management company. Notable as the owners of one of the most famous teams and storied in the history of eSports: Team Liquid. A team that goes back all the way to the year 2000 as a gaming clan, team Liquid has been around since the days of the OG StarCraft II Leagues.

As of today, Team Liquid is part at least 13 different eSports organizations. Magic Johnson has always been a champion. And it looks like eSports is no exception.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is an imposing man.

He stands 2 meters tall (6’7” for the Americans out there). But don’t let his height make you think he looks down on others. His whole career has been made as someone who picks others up as a motivational speaker.

But he doesn’t just talk big, his companies earn big.

To the tune of over $5 billion in sales and $500 million personal net worth. So, it should be no surprise that the Worth Magazine Power 100 member was part of the investment team that bought Team Liquid with Magic Johnson.

When you’ve got big Tony talking big for you, you know you and your team are headed to big things. Like when Team Liquid won The International 7.


To Infinity. And beyond!


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