As esports continues to grow and companies take on teams, here are five famous people who have their own teams.
Celebrities are often seen owning stakes in high-profile companies. There were some announcements last week that saw TSM and Immortals gain significant investment from such people. Whilst those high-profile individuals have invested in teams and became board members, not many celebrities have started their own teams. So here are five celebrities, in no particular order, who’ve started esports companies, or are actively involved.
The two-time Formula 1 world championship driver from Spain launched his esports team last year. Partnering with Logitech G, the team called “FA Racing G2 Logitech G” competes in simulation racing. They race on a number of platforms and aim to be the team “all sim racing enthusiasts will aspire to.” Alonso continues to drive for McLaren Formula 1 whilst trying out some sim racing for himself.
Before Alonso, Rick Fox already took the bait to start an esports team. Fox founded his own team, Echo Fox, in 2015. The former basketballer bought the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) spot from Gravity Gaming. Starting with a League team, the organisation has expanded to include teams in CS:GO, Call of Duty, and some fighting games. The former Los Angeles Lakers player is also a television actor.
Another basketball player, Jonas Jerebko bought Renegades in 2016. The organisation, also known as Detroit Renegades, includes line-ups in CS:GO, Halo, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros. Jerebko still plays basketball and is currently signed by the Golden State Warriors.
There seems to be a theme with basketball players, because here’s another one! The player from America started his own team in 2016, calling it Vici Gaming J–J for Jeremy. The team, abbreviated as VGJ, started in Dota 2. In 2017, the team split into the VGJ.Thunder (Chinese) and VGJ.Storm (North American) branches. The organisation developed, and both splits compete in a range of esports titles. Lin still owns both teams and continues to play basketball for the Atlanta Hawks.
With all the sporting players owning teams, it’s a wonder there’s room for anyone else. That’s where Aoki comes in. The superstar DJ bought a major stake in Rogue in 2016, the same year it was founded. As the co-owner of the team, Aoki brings his lifetime love of gaming to the table. Rogue competes in both Overwatch and CS:GO. Aoki continues to produce albums whilst actively promoting his esports team.
Combining esports skills
These celebrities will be able to pass on knowledge from their respective fields to their esports teams. As one of my previous articles states, there are a lot of parallels between video games and the physical world. Fernando Alonso for example can coach his players since the skills required in motorsport are similar to that of simulation driving. As for the basketball players, they believe their championship careers can help their esports players to success. Each of the sporting personalities can help their teams build teamwork and leadership skills and remain mentally in control. Additionally, many of these athletes have extensive media training that they can pass on. Business people like Aoki and Fox can lead their organisations to business success whilst developing their players in key areas outside the game.
As esports continues to grow, we’ll no doubt see more celebrities jump on board to have teams of their own. Even Serena Williams posted about the Overwatch League grand finals!
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 28, 2018