If you want a marker of how successful an industry is, look no further than the celebrities throwing money behind it. By the end of 2023, esports revenues are expected to top $1.62 billion. It’s little wonder then that a slew of A-listers are funneling their fortunes into the world of competitive gaming.
7 Celebrity Esports Fans You Didn’t Know About
While some are die-hard gamers themselves, others simply know a good investment when they see one. Below are seven of the biggest names you probably didn’t know were secret esports enthusiasts.
This famous rapper first revealed his love of video games with a series of Twitch streams. In 2018, Drake and record executive, Scooter Braun, purchased esports organization, 100 Thieves. He continues to be a co-owner, but his capital interest in video games didn’t stop there.
In 2019, Drake invested in Players’ Lounge, an innovative startup that allows gamers to make money from monthly tournaments, head-to-head matches, and streaming. As of 2023, Players’ Lounge has paid out more than $140 million.
6. David Beckham
Aside from being one of the most celebrated soccer players of all time, David Beckham has turned his hand to everything from sportswear endorsements to launching his own whisky brand, Haig Club.
In 2020, he fleshed out his investment further by launching Guild Esports, a UK-based organization. Today, Guild Esports has active teams playing FIFA, Fortnite, and Rocket League professionally.
5. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is another sports star who’s as famous for his entrepreneurial spirit as he is for his success on the basketball court.
Despite a net worth of $2 billion, Jordan’s always looking for a new venture. In 2018, he invested more than $26 million in aXiomatic Gaming.
While you might not have heard of aXiomatic, you’ll have definitely heard about some of its assets. This parent company owns Team Liquid, one of the most successful esports organizations of all time.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
There’s no shortage of basketball legends investing money in esports. The one and only Shaq partnered with baseball stars, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins, back in 2016 to get NRG eSports off the launching pad.
Today, NRG has active teams playing Overwatch, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, and more. Want to see how well NRG are doing? Head to www.1337pro.com/en/csgo/match-scores to find out.
3. Ashton Kutcher
Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher is another video game enthusiast. However, rather than put his money behind an actual team, Kutcher invested in Unikrn, one of the first-ever esports betting platforms.
He wasn’t the only one. In 2015, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, sank a seven-figure sum into the same company.
2. Steve Aoki
If you’re a fan of electronic dance music, you’ve probably heard of Steve Aoki before. This world-famous DJ was one of the first high-profile celebrities to invest in esports. In 2016, he helped provide financial backing for the up-and-coming esports team, Rogue.
At one point, Rogue had teams competing in Call of Duty, Overwatch, and CS:GO tournaments. In 2022, the Rogue roster merged with the Spanish team, KOI.
1. Will Smith
Will Smith is no stranger to investing. Along with his wife Jada, he’s funded beauty and cosmetic brands, music startups, brand consultancies, and more. He’s also used a sizable portion of his fortune to invest in esports.
Although his personal contribution is unknown, he was largely responsible for securing a $46 million investment for international esports organization, Gen.G back in 2019.