If you believe recent estimates, the video gaming industry is now expected to reach $180 billion in profits by the time 2021 rolls around, putting it well above the likes of film and music put together right this second. Five hundred million people watch some form of competitive gaming online on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube, and the prize pools and revenues made by tournaments across the world has surpassed the likes of the MLB, EFL Championship, American Open, Wimbledon and even the once-mighty NBA.
This is obviously really cool.
Everyone wants to know how to get paid to play games, which has continued to help launch the Esports industry to new heights. And even high-profile celebrities aren’t exempt from this rule anymore, starting up their very own businesses within the community and investing in their favourite games through various teams. Influencers like these are going to be the key in breaking the traditional view of gaming being something reserved for socially-awkward nerds living in their parents’ basements, so here’s our quick take on some of the most high-profile celebrity investors in the video game world.
Drake – 100 Thieves
Canadian rapper Drake really needs no introduction. The multi-Grammy winning machine has made a bit of a name for himself as being a savvy investor in the world of sports, thanks mainly to his continued work with current NBA champions Toronto Raptors, and took the plunge into Esports with an investment into the 100 Thieves organisation back in 2018.
Along with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and entertainment hotshot Scooter Braun, the investment gave 100 Thieves an injection of roughly $25 million and the North American group have gone onto found top ten teams in games ranging from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Call of Duty and Fortnite.
Ashton Kutcher – Unikrn
Actor, model, producer, serial investor and all-round good guy Ashton Kutcher made his first mark in the world of Esports when he put his money behind Esports betting site, Unikrn back in 2015. Along with fellow billionaire and television personality Mark Cuban, Kutcher helped make up a total investment round of $10 million for Unikrn, and the site has gone onto sponsor orgs like BIG Clan and put together some truly unique ways of taking video game wagering to a new and exciting levels.
Team Liquid are one of the most successful and recognisable groups in the world of Esports, boasting teams that make up the top ten in Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Hearthstone and Apex. With an estimated total earnings haul of $33 million to their collective names so far, Liquid have been instrumental in shaping the world of modern competitive gaming, investing in Youth Academies, Player Houses, Training Academies and various physical and mental coaches for their players.
One of their biggest investors is basketballing legend Michael Jordan, who invested into their parent company, aXiomatic, in 2018. The six-time NBA Champion knows a thing or two about successful sports teams and his initial investment, which helped make a round of funding worth $26 million all in, soon paid dividends with the company’s groundbreaking Alienware Training Facility most notably undergoing some serious refurbs in the wake of the investment roundup.
Coincidentally, Jordan isn’t the first Basketball superstar to invest in aXiomatic and Team Liquid. His famous 1992 Olympic teammate, Magic Johnson, has also invested in the group in the past and the two have helped paint Team Liquid as one of the snazziest and star-studded lineups, both in and out of the world of virtual sports.