Growing faster than ever, the industry of esports betting is starting to catch the eye of some big names from the sports business, this time the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who attended the recent Intel Extreme Masters and played a round of League of Legends.
Cuban is not new to the eSports market, being a part of a team of first-round investors in eSports company Unikrn that invested $7 million into the company.
This time he took a more active role by playing a showmatch at IEM San Jose against Intel CEO Brian Krzanic. Cuban’s team included pro players Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, William “Meteos” Hartman, and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng.
Why is Mark Cuban attending an eSports event?
Upon seeing famous businessman Cuban, who is also well-known as one of five investors from the ABC reality TV series Shark Tank, people were curious what brought Cuban to this eSports event. When asked about it by interviewer Kristine Leahy, he replied, “You’re just going to have to stay tuned.”
He also addressed the topic of naysayers, especially Colin Cowherd, who is known for looking down on the eSports industry, remarking:
“I love Colin but he’s an idiot. I’m a noob. I’m still getting into it, but I love it. It’s like playing five-dimensional chess against the world. It’s one of the smartest games I’ve ever played. You’ve got to have dexterity, and you’ve got to be quick.
This is a real sport, and people are going to figure it out really, really quick.”
The presence of an influential figure like Mark Cuban at an eSports event definitely brings some well-deserved mainstream attention with it. While the industry of eSports has been doing very well in recent years, Cuban’s interest makes him something of an outlier when thinking of mainstream sports circles.
Back in 2013, HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel examined eSports with a report on the category, but then followed up with a panel where eSports fans were described as “crazy.” People are nonetheless coming around, however, and while eSports is still a target for skepticism, it does get lots of positive feedback.
One example of this is the recent article by ESPN titled, “Resistance is Futile” which describes eSports as “massive and growing.”
Mark Cuban being Mark Cuban
During game play, Mark dropped the f-bomb, and was later told that he’s being fined $15,000 for that. However, when finding out that the money goes to Cybersmile, an anti-cyberbulling charity, he double-downed and dropped another f-bomb, sending a total of $30,000 to the charity.
Even though Mark’s performance during the game wasn’t great, having only played 3 matches of League of Legends in total, without a doubt he won a lot of fans during his visit.
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