Two of the biggest names in American sports over the past decade have invested into a rapidly expanding esports organization. Professional sports players are entering esports at a rapid pace, with NRG Esports announcing three big-name investors today.
Retired NBA player and Inside the NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal and New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, are investing in NRG eSports, which owns teams in League of Legends and Counter-Strike. Chicago White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins also contributed to the organization's latest round of investment.
“We think they will help legitimize the space,” NRG’s chairman, Andy Miller, tells the Daily Dot. “They all come from the traditional sports world. They were all unbelievably young when they became professionals, like our guys.”
Miller says that Shaq, Rodriguez, and Rollins approached NRG directly. Rollins is actually a League of Legends player, while O’Neal has been in the gaming and esports space for a while through Turner Sports, most notably when he announced Turner Sports' new ELEAGUE competition last year. He also co-owns the Sacramento Kings basketball team with Miller.