A lot of traditional sports figures and teams have jumped into join the esports scene in 2016 with investments and the creation of teams. Here’s a list of them:
Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, and Jimmy Rollins invest in NRG
In March, NRG announced that Shaq, A-Rod and Jimmy Rollins have all invested in the team NRG, which had League of Legends and Counter Strike teams at the time.
Golden State Warriors part-owner Peter Guber acquires a controlling interest in Team Liquid
Guber — as well as Magic Johnson — is part of aXiomatic, which bought Team Liquid and all of the esports team underneath that umbrella.
Ricky Lumpkin endorses esports, joins the management of FlipSid3 Tactics
Defensive Tackle of the Indianapolis Colts added his name to FlipSid3 this year, and in an interview with PVP Live, he fully endorsed esports and his love for the scene.
Jonas Jerebko buys Renegades
The Boston Celtics forward bought Renegades in August and has since moved the Counter-Strike team to a gaming house in Michigan.
West Ham United signs its first professional FIFA player
West Ham signed Sean “Dragonn” Allen in May to represent the club at FIFA competitions and gave him an official squad number.
VfL Wolfsburg signs on a second FIFA pro
Continuing from a previous signing of David “DaveBtw” Bytheway, the German sports club added Benedikt “Salz0r” Saltzer with a one year contract. Salz0r was previously a part of the agency STARK eSports.
Clube De Remo partners with Brave e-Sports
The Brazilian soccer team announced its partnership with Brave e-Sports in April. Brave has teams in League of Legends, CS:GO, SMITE and CrossFire.
FC Schalke buys Elements’ spot in the European League of Legends Championship Series
The professional German association football club bought EU LCS pro team Elements’ spot in the LCS as well as its roster and coaching staff in May.
U.C. Sampdoria signs its first Fifa pro
Following the example of other sports clubs, the Italian soccer club signed professional FIFA player Mattia “Lonewofl92” Guarracino to its ranks. Lonewolf92 is a Bronze Medalist at the World Cyber Games and Samsung Euro Championship, and European ESL Major Series IX champion.
Valencia CF joins the esports scene
The Spanish soccer club entered into the realm of esports with its own League of Legends roster, as well as FIFA, Hearthstone, and Rocket League in June.
Manchester City becomes second Premier League club to sign a pro FIFA player
After West Ham, Manchester City signed a pro FIFA player of its own, Kieran “Kez” Brown.
Dynamo Moscow and Tornado ROX signed a cooperation agreement
The first Russian soccer club to work with esports, Dynamo Moscow entered in an agreement with Tornado ROX and is listed as a partner on their website. Tornado ROX has teams in League of Legends, World of Tanks, Overwatch, FIFA, and Street Fighter V.
Sporting Clube de Portugal signs pro FIFA player, hosts CS:GO tournament
The Portuguese soccer club signed Francisco “Quinzas” Cruz and also hosted a CS:GO tournament in partnership with ChallengeMe.gg.
FC Volga Ulyanovsk signs a pro FIFA player
The Russian soccer Club signed the professional Fifa player Ilya Vasilyev this year.
FC UFA signs a pro Fifa player
Following the trend of Russian soccer clubs snatching up FIFA talent, FC UFA joined the fray by signing 2015 World Series of Video Games FIFA champion Robert “ufenok77” Fakhretdinov.
PSV Eindhoven becomes first Dutch soccer team to enter esports through a FIFA tournament
The top team of their domestic division, PSV Eindhoven announced it would host a FIFA 17 tournament upon the game’s release in September.
AFC Ajax signs a pro Ffia player
The Dutch soccer team followed the example of many other European clubs’ and joined esports by signing five time Dutch FIFA champion Koen Weijland in September.
Philadelphia 76ers acquire Apex Gaming and Dignitas
Yet another large NBA team acquired its own collection of esports teams in September as the 76ers acquired both Apex Gaming and its LCS spot as well as Team Dignitas. With all the teams under the Dignitas banner, the 76ers have teams in CS:GO, SMITE, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm.
Paris Saint Germain FC partners with esports WEBEDIA group
The first French football club entrant into esports, PSG created an esports franchise with WEBEDIA, managers of the esports club Millennium, as well as the expertise of League of Legends star Bora “YellowStar” Kim as their head of esports. PSG has since announced a full roster to compete in Europe’s League of Legends Challengers Series.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE