On September 28th, 2017, the official Twitter account for the Esports team NRG announced their roster for their Overwatch team. That same day, they also welcomed singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, and media personality and former NFL defensive end Michael Strahan “to the family.” The three celebrities are a part of a $15 million capital venture fund, and in this round of investments, former MLB slugger Alex Rodriguez, who had invested previously in NRG, increased his claims as well in order to join the company board.
NRG was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, co-owners of the Sacramento Kings. Their advisory board consists of investors such as former NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, MLB shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and NL All-Star Ryan Howard. In addition to Overwatch, they have team rosters for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, For Honor, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Smite, Vainglory, and World of Warcraft.
Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez investing in an Esports team like NRG implies that there is budding interest in massively multiplayer online games and that it is a profitable venture because its foundation is growing so strongly. Athletes with a profound interest in gaming, in particular, further the idea that Esports should be considered an actual sport and competition. As more renowned individuals become involved in the Esports community, it would surely gather more recognition and, in the process, earn themselves more fans.