The market for esports has taken off in a huge way, especially in the United States. The “League of Legends” championship drew 30 million viewers, more than the NBA Finals and World Series viewership combined (link). There’s a world of money to be made, and now NBA players are getting into the act. Jeremy Lin is a huge fan of esports and is looking to invest, Shaquille O’Neal is an investor in a team, as is his former teammate Rick Fox.
Now, a Celtic has joined the fray. ESPN reports Jonas Jerebko is purchasing a team:
Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko is the latest athlete to buy in to the esports world. Jerebko purchased the rights to the Renegades franchise from Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles, his team’s CS:GO position in WME | IMG’s ELeague and in ESL, and the first right of refusal to negotiate new contracts with that team, for an undisclosed sum.
Jerebko said he originally planned to buy into the sport at the beginning of 2017, but given that the deal included the rights to negotiate with the current Renegades CS:GO team, in which four of the players had expired contracts, Jerebko said he had to seize the opportunity. The Celtics forward signed the players, based out of Australia, and moved them into a house and training center in Rochester, Michigan, with a coach and a manager.
NBA players are notoriously more into gaming than some of the other sports, in part due to the travel schedule and cultural makeup. Gordon Hayward could compete professionally if he wasn’t, you know, an NBA player. In fact, most players would suggest that they spend their most of their off-court time on the road is playing video games. (Note: Somehow, clubbing/partying/drinking never comes up in these conversations when I ask what they do in their free time.)
Expect more of this crossover, as it’s pretty clear that NBA players are into the culture, and business, of esports.
Source: CBS Sports / NBA player becomes the latest to join the esports act by purchasing a team