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Major Sports Figures Are Betting On The Growing eSports Industry

Rick Fox eSports

The eSports industry had a blooming year and it just keeps growing. The global eSports market is worth $748M and will reach $1.9B by 2018, according to the market research company SuperData, and while more and more new companies and organizations are emerging in the scene, the market has started to attract some big names from the traditional sports scene.

Former NBA player Rick Fox buys eSports Team Gravity

Former Boston Celtics and LA Lakers player Rick Fox has recently bought the professional League of Legends team Gravity Gaming.

The team will play under the name Echo Fox in 2016. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but apparently other eSports teams have sold recently at prices reported by industry trade publications at around $1 million.

“As a professional athlete, businessman and proud member of the gaming community, I see the way that the eSports world is growing and I know we are on the verge of something massive,” Fox said in a press release first reported by Breitbart’s Richard Lewis.

“The opportunity to parlay my experience in sports, entertainment and gaming into a leadership role with Echo Fox is exciting and humbling. This decision is equal parts business and personal for me.”

Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Okung invests in Matcherino

We have recently reported about Matcherino, an eSports engagement platform that promotes streamers and also gives fans the ability to participate in crowdfunding campaigns that fund matches between top players, who can use Matcherino to get paid for their matches and interact with followers.

Now, the company has a new investor, Seattle Seahawks’ offensive tackle Russell Okung.

“I had some interest in the eSports industry for a while now,” Okung told The Seattle Times. “It’s just like people coming to watch us.”

The NFL player invested an undisclosed amount in Matcherino’s recent $1.25 million capital raising round, which was announced last week.

“I really love Matcherino and the understanding of what crowd-based funding is, to see guys play and see people play against the best gamers,’’ Okung said. “I thought it would be something cool for me to get behind. There’s a nice parallel, too, to what I do, so I thought it would be even cooler.’’

Mark Cuban invested in eSports betting startup Unikrn and may buy a team

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, invested in eSports betting startup Unikrn back in June this year.

“The rapid growth of eSports has created an entire new category of competition and I am proud to partner with Rahul Sood [Unikrn’s founder and CEO] and his team to help bring eSports to an even greater audience,” Cuban said in a statement. “I’m excited to be involved with a new sport just as it’s poised for huge growth.”

We have also recently written about Mark Cuban’s appearance at the Intel Extreme Masters, where he played a game of League of Legends. It has been speculated whether the famous businessman is planning to buy a professional eSports company. When asked about it by interviewer Kristine Leahy, he replied, “You’re just going to have to stay tuned.”

Additionally, the owners of Immortals, a venture capital-funded team featuring names like Steve Kaplan, the owner of Memphis Grizzlies, and Linkin Park, claim their involvement is equal parts passion and business. Same goes for the new ownership of NRG eSports, the ownership group of the Sacramento Kings.

Image s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Dejan Zalik

About

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.