A guide to: Celebrities in esports – football, basketball and sports

Celebrities in esports hail from a wide variety of backgrounds from musicians to actors, but none so prevalent as those from the world of traditional sports —especially footballers.

Famous athletes and sports team owners that have or continue to invest in or become involved in esports recognise the link between fandoms and competition, whether live or in video games.

To help keep track of all the celebrities in esports, we have compiled a growing list of traditional sports athletes and team owners who have entered the space.

celebrities in esports

Celebrities in esports from the world of traditional sports

Note: celebrity investors, owners, partners, and ambassadors are listed in alphabetical order by surname. This list will be updated periodically. (Last updated: 30 September 2021)

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Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero celebrities esports
Credit: KRÜ Esports

Organisation(s): KRÜ Esports

Role(s): Founder and CEO

Details: Manchester City star striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero founded KRÜ Esports in October 2020. The company is based out of Argentina and Barcelona.

Dele Alli

esports investments

Organisation(s): EXCEL ESPORTS

Role(s): Global ambassador

Details: Tottenham Hotspur footballer Dele Alli was named as EXCEL ESPORTS’ first global ambassador in December 2020, after signing a long-term partnership with the esports organisation. Footballers have become one of the many celebrity investors in esports within the last few years.

César Azpilicueta

Organisation(s): Falcons

Role(s): Founder

Details: Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta announced that he was forming his own esports team, Falcons, in early 2020. The team competes in FIFA.


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Gareth Bale

Ellevens Esports
Pictured: Gareth Bale (centre) with Ellevens team members. Image credit: Ellevens Esports

Organisation(s): Ellevens Esports

Role(s): Founder

Details: In February 2020, professional footballer Gareth Bale launched Ellevens Esports in partnership with 38 Entertainment Group, an organisation co-founded by former football star Larry Cohen. Ellevens fields teams in FIFA and Rocket League, along with a team of streamers.

David Beckham

David Beckham Guild Esports
Screenshot: Guild Esports Twitter

Organisation(s): Guild Esports

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Esports talent development agency Guild Esports launched in 2020 with David Beckham as co-owner. The organisation launched Guild Academy, an online esports training subscription service, in 2021.

Odell Beckham, Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr
Image credit: Cleveland Browns

Organisation(s): Vision Esports (Echo Fox)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was one of several celebrities that invested in Rick Fox’s esports organisation, Echo Fox, in 2018.


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Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin Semper Fortis
Credit: Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Organisation(s): Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Role(s): Brand ambassador

Details: English professional footballer for Everton FC Dominic Calvert-Lewin became a brand ambassador of esports startup Semper Fortis Esports PLC in May 2021. Calvert-Lewin will promote Semper Fortis assets, including the European Rocket League squad Top Blokes.


Casemiro esports
Pictured: Carlos Henrique Casimiro

Organisation(s): CaseEsports

Role(s): Founder

Details: Real Madrid defensive midfielder Carlos Henrique Casimiro, known as Casemiro, launched his own esports organisation, ‘CaseEsports,’ in October of 2020. Right out of the gate, the Brazilian footballer assembled a professional CS:GO team that will operate out of Spain.

Jordan Clarkson

famous athletes esports
Image credit: InkedMag.com

Organisation(s): Esports Technologies

Role(s): Marketing ambassador

Details: In 2019, Clarkson partnered with esports wagering company Esports Technologies as an ambassador on marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the brand.

Larry Cohen

Pictured L-R: Jonathan Kark (38 Entertainment CEO), Gareth Bale (Ellevens Esports Founder), Larry Cohen (38 Entertainment CBO)

Organisation(s): 38 Entertainment, Ellevens Esports

Role(s): Co-founder, CBO

Details: Former pro footballer Larry Cohen co-founded 38 Entertainment, a venture that co-owns Gareth Bale’s Elleven Esports. His company also runs Combat Gaming, a celebrity tournament platform that leverages Cohen’s sports network.

Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois esports
Image credit: DUX Gaming

Organisation(s): DUX Gaming

Role(s): Investor

Details: LaLiga player Thibaut Courtois became an investor in DUX Gaming in 2020.

Mark Cuban

Celebrity esports investors
Pictured: Mark Cuban (R) at the 2015 Intel Extreme Masters San Jose. Image credit: ESL

Organisation(s): Mavs Gaming, Unikrn

Role(s): Owner (Mavs Gaming), Investor (Unikrn)

Details: Billionaire Mark Cuban, known for his appearances on the TV show Shark Tank, is the owner of NBA team Dallas Mavericks. By extension, he also owns its esports affiliate team, Mavs Gaming, which launched in 2018 and recruited the first female NBA2K League player in 2021.

In 2018, Cuban invested in blockchain-based esports betting platform, Unikrn.

Steph Curry

Stephen Curry TSM
Pictured: Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani (L), Stephen Curry (C), and ‘Hamlinz’. Image credit: TSM YouTube

Organisation(s): Team SoloMid (TSM)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry aka Steph Curry, became an investor in Team SoloMid via its parent company, Swift in 2018. He appeared on a number of TSM videos following the announcement.


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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant celebrity investors esports
Image credit: Brooklyn Nets

Organisation(s): Andbox, Vision Esports (Echo Fox)

Role(s): Investor

Details: Power forward for the Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant joined fellow athletes Odell Beckham, Jr. and Rick Fox by investing in Vision Esports in 2018. The team, Echo Fox, has since disbanded.

In March 2021, Durant and his agent Rich Kleiman invested in New York esports organisation Andbox through their investment vehicle, Thirty Five Ventures.


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Chris Evert

Chris Evert

Organisation(s): Misfits Gaming

Role(s): Speaker, Women of Misfits

Details: Pro tennis legend Chris Evert participated in the Women of Misfits platform, a speaker series designed to inspire and mentor women and girls in the sports and gaming sector.


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Rick Fox

Rick Fox celebrity esports investors
Image credit: Echo Fox

Organisation(s): Vision Esports aka Echo Fox

Role(s): Owner (former)

Details: Retired basketball player Rick Fox founded Echo Fox in 2015 by purchasing the North American LCS spot of Gravity Gaming. Other celebrity investors included Kevin Durant and Odell Beckham Jr. The team later expanded into more titles, but ultimately folded in 2019 following a series of controversies and internal lawsuits. The LCS spot was ultimately acquired by Evil Geniuses.

Christian Fuchs

Christian Fuchs esports
Image credit: NFG

Organisation(s): No Fuchs Given (NFG)

Role(s): Founder

Details: NFG was founded in 2018 by Leicester City footballer Christian Fuchs and fields a team in FIFA. The following year, Fuchs announced plans to open a 1,000-seat esports arena in New York.


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Antoine Griezmann

Organisation(s): Grizi Esport

Role(s): Co-founder

Details: World-class footballer Antoine Griezmann and his brother Théo Griezmann launched Grizi Esports in early 2020 with plans to field teams in Fortnite, League of Legends, Rainbow Six: Siege, CS: GO, and naturally, FIFA.

Romain Grosjean

celebrity investors in esports
Image credit: Phil Spencer YouTube

Organisation(s): R8G eSports

Role(s): Owner, founder

Details: Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean launched his own sim racing esports team, R8G, in April 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Photo credit: Cosmin Iftode / Shutterstock

Organisation(s): ULTI Agency

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the manager of Premier League football club Manchester United, and sports agent Jim Solbakken signed an agreement to become owners of Norwegian esports company ULTI Agency. Per the April 2021 announcement, both Solskjær and Solbakken will acquire 12.5 percent stakes in the company each through their respective companies, Grip Management AS and Sir Solution AS.


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Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk SquareSpace
Pictured: Tony Hawk (L) with SquareSpace CEO Justin Kenna (R). Image credit: SquareSpace

Organisation(s): GameSquare

Role(s): Special advisor

Details: In March 2021, famed skateboarder Tony Hawk joined GameSquare as a special advisor to CEO Justin Kenna and GameSquare’s group of companies. The goal is to help them ‘bridge the gap between global brands and the large gaming and esports communities’.

Gordon Hayward

Organisation(s): HyperX

Role(s): Ambassador

Details: Charlotte Hornets basketball star Gordan Hayward is a gaming ambassador known as a ‘HyperX Hero’. As part of his partnership, Hayward appears in marketing for the peripherals brand.


Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda celebrities investors esports
Image credit: soccer.ru

Organisation(s): Gen.G

Role(s): Investor, advisor

Details: Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda became an investor and advisor to esports organisation Gen.G in 2019 through his Dreamers Fund — a venture capital fund co-founded with actor Will Smith.

Nyjah Huston

Organisation(s): FaZe Clan

Role(s): Investor

Details: Pro skater Nyjah Huston was among a slew of athletes and celebrities that invested in FaZe Clan’s Series A funding round in April 2020.


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Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Challengermode Investment Alibaba Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Credit: Challengermode, Getty

Organisation(s): Challengermode

Role(s): Investor

Details: Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic invested in esports platform Challengermode back in 2017 and again in 2020.

Borja Iglesias

Borja Iglesias esports
Image credit: DUX Gaming

Organisation(s): DUX Gaming

Role(s): Investor

Details: LaLiga player Borja Iglesias became an investor in DUX Gaming in 2020.


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Magic Johnson

celebrity investors esports

Organisation(s): aXiomatic Gaming (Team Liquid)

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Team Liquid entered a strategic partnership with ownership group aXiomatic in 2016. In addition to Johnson, aXiomatic includes Magic Johnson, Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, and Washington Wizards co-owner Ted Leonsis, who all became co-owners.

The co-ownership group also includes Dodgers executives Lon Rosen and Tucker Kain, Warriors executives Rick Welts and Kirk Lacob, the Washington Nationals owners at Lerner Enterprises, Chicago Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney and former NFL player Dhani Jones.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan aXiomatic
Image credit: aXiomatic Gaming

Organisation(s): aXiomatic Gaming (Team Liquid)

Role(s): Investor

Details: When it comes to celebrity investors in esports, this one got a lot of fans excited. Jordan participated in a $26 million (~£18.3 million) Series C funding round for Team Liquid’s parent company, aXiomatic Gaming, in 2018.

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Jerry Jones

celebrity esports investments
Image credit: Sports Illustrated

Organisation(s): Complexity Gaming

Role(s): Majority stakeholder

Details: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team acquired a majority stake in Complexity Gaming in 2017,  alongside real-estate tycoon John Goff.


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Robert Kraft

Kraft Group Boston Uprising
Pictured: Boston Uprising owner Robert Kraft embraces a team member. Image: Kraft Group

Organisation(s): Boston Uprising

Role(s): Owner

Details: In 2017, the Kraft family purchased the rights to bring one of the first Overwatch League teams to the city of Boston. Kraft Group also owns the New England Patriots.

Stan Kroenke

stan kroenke

Organisation(s): Los Angeles Guerrillas, Los Angeles Gladiators, Sentinels (former)

Role(s): Owner

Details: Through Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the Kroenke family owns teams Los Angeles Guerrillas in Call of Duty League and the Gladiators in Overwatch League. The company previously collaborated with esports organisation Sentinels but parted ways in 2019 to focus on its newly acquired Call of Duty League slot.

Kroenke also owns the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche among other teams.


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Meyers Leonard

Organisation(s): FaZe Clan

Role(s): Investor

Details: Pro basketball free agent Meyers Leonard was among a slew of athletes and celebrities that invested in FaZe Clan’s Series A funding round in April 2020.

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard esports
Pictured: Jesse Lingard (R) Image source: UKIN

Organisation(s): JLINGZ esports (formerly Audacity Esports)

Role(s): Owner

Details: Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard acquired UK-based esports organisation Audacity Esports in August of 2021. As part of the deal, the Rainbow Six Siege roster — temporarily named Team JLE — will be rebranded to JLINGZ esports and compete in the next season of the UK and Ireland Nationals (UKIN).

Audacity Esports announced that it was one of the six UK-based esports organisations that will form premium esports and lifestyle brand Coalesce Esports.


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Harry Maguire

Marry Maguire joins Semper Fortis
Photo credit: sbonsi / Shutterstock.com

Organisation(s): Semper Fortis Esports PLC

Role(s): Brand ambassador

Details: Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire was appointed as a brand ambassador of UK-based organisation Semper Fortis Esports in May 2021. Maguire will interact with fans across digital platforms alongside providing his ‘experience in traditional sports’ to apply it to an esports organisation.

Mitch Marner

Organisation(s): OverActive Media (Toronto Ultra, Toronto Defiant, MAD Lions)

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner joined OverActive Media’s ownership group in July of 2020. At the time, Marner expressed plans to work directly with the company to help promote the brand.

Jack McClinton

Jack McClinton esports
Image credit: Esports Technologies

Organisation(s): Esports Technologies

Role(s): Strategic advisor

Details: Former University of Miami Basketball Star and NBA Draft Pick Jack McClinton joined Esports Technologies as a Strategic Advisor in May 2021. McClinton will ‘facilitate authentic collaborations’ between professional athletes and entertainers with Esports Technologies and its partners.

Daniil Medvedev

Danil Medvedev esports
Image credit: HyperX

Organisation(s): HyperX

Role(s): Ambassador

Details: Russian tennis pro Daniil Medvedev signed on as a ‘HyperX Hero’ as of August 2021. As part of the agreement, Medvedev will participate in global marketing activations.

Mason Mount

Organisation(s): 38 Entertainment (Combat Gaming)

Role(s): Brand ambassador, TV host

Details: Chelsea Football Club and England midfielder Mason Mount was appointed an official brand ambassador of 38 Entertainment Group-owned organisation Combat Gaming in June 2021. He will host Combat Gaming’s new gaming show series, which is set to air on Sky UK broadband during summer 2021. 


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Lando Norris

Lando Norris Quadrant
Formula One driver and Quadrant founder Lando Norris is among celebrity investors in esports who started their own organisations.

Organisation(s): Team Quadrant

Role(s): Owner

Details: British Formula One driver Lando Norris launched Team Quadrant in November 2020. The new entity puts an emphasis on gaming, racing, and content creation.


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Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq sports players in esports
Image crdit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Organisation(s): NRG Esports

Role(s): Investor

Details: NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal invested in ownership group NRG Esports alongside baseball player Jimmy Rollins in 2016. NRG was formed in 2015 by Mark Mastrov and Andy Miller, part owners of the Sacramento Kings.

Mesut Özil

Organisation(s): M10 Esports

Role(s): Founder

Details: Pro footballer Mesut Özil founded his own esports organisation, M10, in 2018, fielding teams in Fortnite and FIFA. 


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Gerard Piqué

Gerard Pique esports

Organisation(s): efootball.pro

Role(s): Founder

Details: FC Barcelona centreback Gerard Piqué founded efootball.pro in 2017. The league sees representatives from pro football teams compete on the virtual pitch in what is now called eFootball.Pro IQONIQ.

Aerial Powers

Aerial Powers x Team Liquid
Credit: Team Liquid

Organisation(s): Team Liquid, HyperX

Role(s): Brand ambassador

Details: Former WNBA champion Aerial Powers joined Team Liquid as an ambassador and streamer as of January 2021. Powers will represent the organisation as a brand and diversity ambassador, alongside streaming under the Team Liquid banner. Shortly thereafter, she became a brand ambassador for HyperX.


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Sergio Reguilón

sergio reguilon esports
Image credit: Team Heretics

Organisation(s): Team Heretics

Role(s): Partner

Details: Footballer Sergio Reguilón joined Team Heretics in 2019.

Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod esports celebrity investors in esports
Image credit: Sports Illustrated

Organisation(s): NRG Esports

Role(s): Investor

Details: Former baseball star Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez invested in ownership group NRG Esports alongside baseball player Jimmy Rollins and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal in 2016. NRG was formed in 2015 by Mark Mastrov and Andy Miller, part owners of the Sacramento Kings.


celebrity investors in esports

Organisation(s): CNB e-sports Club

Role(s): Co-owner

Details: Former Brazil, Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo invested in CNB e-sports Club in 2017. He owns 50 per cent of the organisation together with professional poker player André Akkari and Igor Trafane Federal, CEO of the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP).

Angela Ruggiero

Organisation(s): Misfits Gaming

Role(s): Speaker, Women of Misfits

Details: Angela Ruggiero is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sports Innovation Lad, a four-time Olympian, and a gold medalist for the USA Hockey team. She participated in the Women of Misfits platform, a speaker series designed to inspire and mentor women and girls in the sports and gaming sector.


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Richard Sherman

celebrity investors in esports
Photo credit: Enthusiast Gaming

Organisation(s): Enthusiast Gaming (Luminosity Gaming)

Role(s): Board of Directors

Details: NFL free agent Richard Sherman joined Enthusiast Gaming’s Board of Directors in 2021. Sherman had been working with Enthusiast Gaming’s esports organisation, Luminosity Gaming, since 2019 as a global brand ambassador.

Bianca Smith

Organisation(s): Misfits Gaming

Role(s): Speaker, Women of Misfits

Details: Bianca Smith, the first black woman to serve as a professional baseball coach, participated in the Women of Misfits platform, a speaker series designed to inspire and mentor women and girls in the sports and gaming sector.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

JuJu Smith-Schuster Team Diverge celebrity investors in esports
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

Organisation(s): Team Diverge

Role(s): Founder

Details: Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster launched a new gaming organisation, Team Diverge, in October 2020. According to the athlete, the organisation aims to become a hub for crossover content across sports, gaming and culture, featuring popular streamers, athletes and celebrities, including the launch of its own streetwear apparel line.

Minna Stess

Minna Stess
Image credit: Gabriel Zavala

Organisation(s): HyperX, XSET

Role(s): Ambassador

Details: Skateboard champion Minna Stess joined the talent roster at XSET in 2020. She has since joined HyperX as one of its ‘HyperX Heroes‘ ambassadors. Stess will exclusively wear and promote HyperX gaming headsets while participating in various marketing initiatives, including social activations and the company’s ongoing ‘We’re All Gamers’ campaign.

Nigel Sylvester

Organisation(s): XSET

Role(s): Content creator

Details: BMX rider Nigel Sylvester joined XSET in November as a content creator.


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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
Photo credit: Eduardo Merille

Organisation(s): Fade2Karma

Role(s): Investor

Details: Tyson invested in esports organisation Fade 2 Karma in 2019. As a result, Fade 2 Karma announced plans to build a new streaming facility near Los Angeles.


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Marquez Valdes-Scantling

celebrity investors in esports
(ESI Illustration) Photo credit: Trench Made Gaming, Subnation Media

Organisation(s): Trench Made Gaming (TMG)

Role(s): Owner

Details: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling announced the creation of Trench Made Gaming in May 2021 alongside Subnation Media. The organisation will field teams across multiple titles.


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Marco Wilson

Marco Wilson esports
Image credit: XSET Twitter

Organisation(s): XSET

Role(s): Content creator

Details: Arizona Cardinal cornerback Marco Wilson became an official content creator for lifestyle gaming organisation XSET in July 2021. The former Florida Gators star player will stream video game content, including Call of Duty: Warzone on his official Twitch channel.

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