The first path was taken by NBA professional Stephen Curry, who invested several million US dollars in the well-known "Team SoloMid" (short: TSM) this summer. The capital does not flow directly to "Team SoloMid" but to its holding company Swift. But TSM has long been more than just a simple eSports team.
Thanks to these financial contributions, TSM can afford to maintain several teams for a wide variety of game titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite or PUBG. But that's not all: In the first half of 2018, Swift managed to collect more than 52 million US dollars, which will gradually be reinvested in TSM. 10 million will flow back into the gaming sector as a direct investment and another 20 million will be budgeted for a new training building and TV studio.
The aim is to support the various teams even better and above all to make them more successful by increasing their reach. Along with Stephen Curry, billionaire Jerry Yang is one of the well-known investors in this pool. Yang is not an unknown quantity in the tech scene either, since he was one of the co-founders of the web portal Yahoo.
By the way, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal followed a similar path as Stephen Curry, who bought himself into a complete organization with his investment in NRG Esports. NRG Esport does not only have individual teams or players, but also has its own leagues. These include the North American League of Legends Championship Series, the Rocket League Championship Series and the CS:GO ESL Pro League.
In addition, the organization also finances some twitch streamers. Along with O'Neal, Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov are the co-owners of NRG Esports, who are also co-owners of the NBA basketball team Sacramento Kings. The musician Jennifer Lopez and the two baseball pros Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins are also among the larger co-investors at NRG Esports.
The former German national soccer player Mesut Özil took a completely different path this summer when he created his own FIFA team with #teamozil. The player from Arsenal London has big plans: He wants to search the world for talented FIFA players. To this end, he commissioned the agency eSportsReputation, which markets FIFA eSportsmen and League of Legends professionals.
The time when Mesut Özil announced his commitment was particularly noteworthy: after his resignation from the national team and shortly before the start of the virtual FIFA 18 World Cups in London, of which he was also a brand ambassador.
Mesut Özil, like many other well-known athletes and musicians, has recognized that the eSports market is continuing to grow and that it is above all the young audience that is captivated. With more than 72 million followers (31.3 million on Facebook, 18.6 million on Instagram and 23.5 million on Twitter), Özil is one of the most popular athletes in the world and can promote his eSports team via these channels.
But it was going to be a few months before he signed the first three players. The team "The M10 eSports Team" now consists of the three players Fatih Üstun, Pedro Resende Soares and Josh "Squirrel" Banh. Özil and his consulting company thus deviated from the original plan to hire only top-class players, because at least Josh Banh is regarded as "only" a great FIFA talent and has not yet had any great success.
However, it remains unclear how great the financial outlay is that the football star is making here. But it is no secret that Mesut Özil - like many other football stars - is himself a big fan of football simulation and has his own twitch channel on which he regularly streams.
Gerard Piqué from FC Barcelona is also very active in eSports with his company eFootball.Pro. But unlike Özil, he doesn't rely on a single team, but develops a professional Pro Evolution Soccer League together with computer and video game manufacturer Konami. The goal is to have the best PES players in the world competing against each other in this league. All games will be shown live - among other things to boost marketing.
The question remains, why so many celebrities like the Canadian rapper Drake, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban or soccer plaxer Zlatan Ibrahimović are investing in eSports. The reasons for this are numerous, one of the most important: The eSports sector is growing immensely fast and will presumably continue to grow for years to come.
In addition, the communities are considered to be extremely loyal - they are closely connected to both the game and the players. This commitment is reinforced by the use of various social media channels. In contrast to the classic sports, the effort for transmissions all over the world is significantly lower, as new and cost-effective ways can be found again and again.