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  • A guide to: Celebrities in esports – football, basketball and sports – Esports Insider

 July 8

by Carolina

Celebrities in esports hail from a wide variety of backgrounds from musicians to actors, but none so prevalent as those from the world of traditional sports —especially footballers.

Famous athletes and sports team owners that have or continue to invest in or become involved in esports recognise the link between fandoms and competition, whether live or in video games.

To help keep track of all the celebrities in esports, we have compiled a growing list of traditional sports athletes and team owners who have entered the space.

celebrities in esports

Celebrities in esports from the world of traditional sports

Note: celebrity investors, owners, partners, and ambassadors are listed in alphabetical order by surname. This list will be updated periodically. (Last updated: 8 July 2021)


Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero celebrities esports
Credit: KRÜ Esports

Organisation(s): KRÜ Esports

Role(s): Founder and CEO

Details: Manchester City star striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero founded KRÜ Esports in October 2020. The company is based out of Argentina and Barcelona.


Dele Alli

esports investments
Photo Credit: EXCEL ESPORTS

Organisation(s): EXCEL ESPORTS

Role(s): Global ambassador

Details: Tottenham Hotspur footballer Dele Alli was named as EXCEL ESPORTS’ first global ambassador in December 2020, after signing a long-term partnership with the esports organisation. Footballers have become one of the many celebrity investors in esports within the last few years.


David Beckham

David Beckham Guild Esports
Screenshot: Guild Esports Twitter

Organisation(s): Guild Esports

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Esports talent development agency Guild Esports launched in 2020 with David Beckham as co-owner. The organisation launched Guild Academy, an online esports training subscription service, in 2021.


Odell Beckham, Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr
Image credit: Cleveland Browns

Organisation(s): Vision Esports (Echo Fox)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was one of several celebrities that invested in Rick Fox’s esports organisation, Echo Fox, in 2018.


Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin Semper Fortis
Credit: Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Organisation(s): Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Role(s): Brand ambassador

Details: English professional footballer for Everton FC Dominic Calvert-Lewin became a brand ambassador of esports startup Semper Fortis Esports PLC in May 2021. Calvert-Lewin will promote Semper Fortis assets, including the European Rocket League squad Top Blokes.


Casamiro

Casemiro esports
Pictured: Carlos Henrique Casimiro

Organisation(s): CaseEsports

Role(s): Founder

Details: Real Madrid defensive midfielder Carlos Henrique Casimiro, known as Casemiro, launched his own esports organisation, ‘CaseEsports,’ in October of 2020. Right out of the gate, the Brazilian footballer assembled a professional CS:GO team that will operate out of Spain.


Jordan Clarkson

famous athletes esports
Image credit: InkedMag.com

Organisation(s): Esports Technologies

Role(s): Marketing ambassador

Details: In 2019, Clarkson partnered with esports wagering company Esports Technologies as an ambassador on marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the brand.


Mark Cuban

Celebrity esports investors
Pictured: Mark Cuban (R) at the 2015 Intel Extreme Masters San Jose. Image credit: ESL

Organisation(s): Mavs Gaming, Unikrn

Role(s): Owner (Mavs Gaming), Investor (Unikrn)

Details: Billionaire Mark Cuban, known for his appearances on the TV show Shark Tank, is the owner of NBA team Dallas Mavericks. By extension, he also owns its esports affiliate team, Mavs Gaming, which launched in 2018 and recruited the first female NBA2K League player in 2021.

In 2018, Cuban invested in blockchain-based esports betting platform, Unikrn.


Steph Curry

Stephen Curry TSM
Pictured: Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani (L), Stephen Curry (C), and ‘Hamlinz’. Image credit: TSM YouTube

Organisation(s): Team SoloMid (TSM)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry aka Steph Curry, became an investor in Team SoloMid via its parent company, Swift in 2018. He appeared on a number of TSM videos following the announcement.


Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant celebrity investors esports
Image credit: Brooklyn Nets

Organisation(s): Andbox, Vision Esports (Echo Fox)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Power forward for the Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant joined fellow athletes Odell Beckham, Jr. and Rick Fox by investing in Vision Esports in 2018. The team, Echo Fox, has since disbanded.

In March 2021, Durant and his agent Rich Kleiman invested in New York esports organisation Andbox through their investment vehicle, Thirty Five Ventures.


Rick Fox

Rick Fox celebrity esports investors
Image credit: Echo Fox

Organisation(s): Vision Esports aka Echo Fox

Role(s): Owner (former)

Details: Retired basketball player Rick Fox founded Echo Fox in 2015 by purchasing the North American LCS spot of Gravity Gaming. Other celebrity investors included Kevin Durant and Odell Beckham Jr. The team later expanded into more titles, but ultimately folded in 2019 following a series of controversies and internal lawsuits. The LCS spot was ultimately acquired by Evil Geniuses.


Christian Fuchs

Christian Fuchs esports
Image credit: NFG

Organisation(s): No Fuchs Given (NFG)

Role(s): Founder

Details: NFG was founded in 2018 by Leicester City footballer Christian Fuchs and fields a team in FIFA. The following year, Fuchs announced plans to open a 1,000-seat esports arena in New York.


Romain Grosjean

celebrity investors in esports
Image credit: Phil Spencer YouTube

Organisation(s): R8G eSports

Role(s): Owner, founder

Details: Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean launched his own sim racing esports team, R8G, in April 2020.


Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Photo credit: Cosmin Iftode / Shutterstock

Organisation(s): ULTI Agency

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the manager of Premier League football club Manchester United, and sports agent Jim Solbakken signed an agreement to become owners of Norwegian esports company ULTI Agency. Per the April 2021 announcement, both Solskjær and Solbakken will acquire 12.5 percent stakes in the company each through their respective companies, Grip Management AS and Sir Solution AS.


Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk SquareSpace
Pictured: Tony Hawk (L) with SquareSpace CEO Justin Kenna (R). Image credit: SquareSpace

Organisation(s): GameSquare

Role(s): Special advisor

Details: In March 2021, famed skateboarder Tony Hawk joined GameSquare as a special advisor to CEO Justin Kenna and GameSquare’s group of companies. The goal is to help them ‘bridge the gap between global brands and the large gaming and esports communities’.


Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda celebrities investors esports
Image credit: soccer.ru

Organisation(s): Gen.G

Role(s): Investor, advisor

Details: Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda became an investor and advisor to esports organisation Gen.G in 2019 through his Dreamers Fund — a venture capital fund co-founded with actor Will Smith.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Challengermode Investment Alibaba Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Credit: Challengermode, Getty

Organisation(s): Challengermode

Role(s): Investor

Details: Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic invested in esports platform Challengermode back in 2017 and again in 2020.


Magic Johnson

celebrity investors esports

Organisation(s): aXiomatic Gaming (Team Liquid)

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Team Liquid entered a strategic partnership with ownership group aXiomatic in 2016. In addition to Johnson, aXiomatic includes Magic Johnson, Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, and Washington Wizards co-owner Ted Leonsis, who all became co-owners.

The co-ownership group also includes Dodgers executives Lon Rosen and Tucker Kain, Warriors executives Rick Welts and Kirk Lacob, the Washington Nationals owners at Lerner Enterprises, Chicago Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney and former NFL player Dhani Jones.


Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan aXiomatic
Image credit: aXiomatic Gaming

Organisation(s): aXiomatic Gaming (Team Liquid)

Role(s): Investor

Details: When it comes to celebrity investors in esports, this one got a lot of fans excited. Jordan participated in a $26 million (~£18.3 million) Series C funding round for Team Liquid’s parent company, aXiomatic Gaming, in 2018.



Jerry Jones

celebrity esports investments
Image credit: Sports Illustrated

Organisation(s): Complexity Gaming

Role(s): Majority stakeholder

Details: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team acquired a majority stake in Complexity Gaming in 2017, which switched to Complexity Gaming in 2019 as part of a rebrand, alongside real-estate tycoon John Goff.


Robert Kraft

Kraft Group Boston Uprising
Pictured: Boston Uprising owner Robert Kraft embraces a team member. Image: Kraft Group

Organisation(s): Boston Uprising

Role(s): Owner

Details: In 2017, the Kraft family purchased the rights to bring one of the first Overwatch League teams to the city of Boston. Kraft Group also owns the New England Patriots.


Stan Kroenke

stan kroenke

Organisation(s): Los Angeles Guerrillas, Los Angeles Gladiators, Sentinels (former)

Role(s): Owner

Details: Through Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the Kroenke family owns teams Los Angeles Guerrillas in Call of Duty League and the Gladiators in Overwatch League. The company previously collaborated with esports organisation Sentinels but parted ways in 2019 to focus on its newly acquired Call of Duty League slot.

Kroenke also owns the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche among other teams.


Harry Maguire

Marry Maguire joins Semper Fortis
Photo credit: sbonsi / Shutterstock.com

Organisation(s): Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Role(s): Brand ambassador

Details: Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire was appointed as a brand ambassador of UK-based organisation Semper Fortis Esports in May 2021. Maguire will interact with fans across digital platforms alongside providing his ‘experience in traditional sports’ to apply it to an esports organisation.


Jack McClinton

Jack McClinton esports
Image credit: Esports Technologies

Organisation(s): Esports Technologies

Role(s): Strategic advisor

Details: Former University of Miami Basketball Star and NBA Draft Pick Jack McClinton joined Esports Technologies as a Strategic Advisor in May 2021. McClinton will ‘facilitate authentic collaborations’ between professional athletes and entertainers with Esports Technologies and its partners.


Lando Norris

Lando Norris Quadrant
Formula One driver and Quadrant founder Lando Norris is among celebrity investors in esports who started their own organisations.

Organisation(s): Team Quadrant

Role(s): Owner

Details: British Formula One driver Lando Norris launched Team Quadrant in November 2020. The new entity puts an emphasis on gaming, racing, and content creation.


Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq sports players in esports
Image crdit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Organisation(s): NRG Esports

Role(s): Investor

Details: NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal invested in ownership group NRG Esports alongside baseball player Jimmy Rollins in 2016. NRG was formed in 2015 by Mark Mastrov and Andy Miller, part owners of the Sacramento Kings.


Gerard Piqué

Gerard Pique esports

Organisation(s): efootball.pro

Role(s): Founder

Details: FC Barcelona centreback Gerard Piqué founded efootball.pro in 2017. The league sees representatives from pro football teams compete on the virtual pitch in what is now called eFootball.Pro IQONIQ.


Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod esports celebrity investors in esports
Image credit: Sports Illustrated

Organisation(s): NRG Esports

Role(s): Investor

Details: Former baseball star Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez invested in ownership group NRG Esports alongside baseball player Jimmy Rollins and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal in 2016. NRG was formed in 2015 by Mark Mastrov and Andy Miller, part owners of the Sacramento Kings.


Ronaldo

celebrity investors in esports

Organisation(s): CNB e-sports Club

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Former Brazil, Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo invested in CNB e-sports Club in 2017. He owns 50 per cent of the organisation together with professional poker player André Akkari and Igor Trafane Federal, CEO of the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP).


Richard Sherman

celebrity investors in esports
Photo credit: Enthusiast Gaming

Organisation(s): Enthusiast Gaming (Luminosity Gaming)

Role(s): Board of Directors

Details: NFL free agent Richard Sherman joined Enthusiast Gaming’s Board of Directors in 2021. Sherman had been working with Enthusiast Gaming’s esports organisation, Luminosity Gaming, since 2019 as a global brand ambassador.


JuJu Smith-Schuster

JuJu Smith-Schuster Team Diverge celebrity investors in esports
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

Organisation(s): Team Diverge

Role(s): Founder

Details: Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster launched a new gaming organisation, Team Diverge, in October 2020. According to the athlete, the organisation aims to become a hub for crossover content across sports, gaming and culture, featuring popular streamers, athletes and celebrities, including the launch of its own streetwear apparel line.


Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
Photo credit: Eduardo Merille

Organisation(s): Fade2Karma

Role(s): Investor

Details: Tyson invested in esports organisation Fade 2 Karma in 2019. As a result, Fade 2 Karma announced plans to build a new streaming facility near Los Angeles.


Marquez Valdes-Scantling

celebrity investors in esports
(ESI Illustration) Photo credit: Trench Made Gaming, Subnation Media

Organisation(s): Trench Made Gaming (TMG)

Role(s): Owner

Details: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling announced the creation of Trench Made Gaming in May 2021 alongside Subnation Media. The organisation will field teams across multiple titles.


Marco Wilson

Marco Wilson esports
Image credit: XSET Twitter

Organisation(s): XSET

Role(s): Content creator

Details: Arizona Cardinal cornerback Marco Wilson became an official content creator for lifestyle gaming organisation XSET in July 2021. The former Florida Gators star player will stream video game content, including Call of Duty: Warzone on his official Twitch channel.


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