As the Esports industry topping $1 billion in 2020 and as viewership grows into the millions, traditional sports news outlets and athletes alike have taken notice because a bevy of pro athletes from all sports are entering the lucrative world of eSports.
From football to skateboarding, soccer to basketball, tennis and cricket, pro athletes are exploring a brave new world of esports where people get paid to play video games. These athletes are understanding the way ahead and investing in esports in some form or another.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a special to sports as it got the entire industry to its knees, leaving sports channels without anything to broadcast but talk shows and previous games. This changed when players, teams and organizations shifted to their esports titles. From F1 to Football, all the athletes were playing games during the shutdown and millions of people were watching them. This phenomenon has show the world the true aspect of competitive gaming or esports.
Lets take a look at some of these athletes, how much are they willing to or already integrated into esports.
Ronaldinho : An iconic player in the world of football. No one before or since has been able to play the game as he has – with a smile on his face and magic in his boots the Brazillian mesmerised the world with his tricks, flicks and ridiculous goals.
His esport organisation R10 esports – named after shirt number he wore for most of his career – is stacked full of Brazillian talent with no less than eight Brazillian FIFA players currently on their roster.
Their achievements on the pitch don’t let the superstar down either with players like Gabriel “Gabrielpn”
Peres Nunes regularly appearing at highest level FIFA events.
This isn’t the first foray into the world of esports for Ronaldinho he is also responsible for the eLigaSul, a Pro Evolution Soccer league which hosts competitions across 26 countries.
Shaquille O’Neal: Retired NBA superstar invested in Miller and Mastrov’s NRG ESports along with baseball players Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins. The team participates in League of Legends and CS:GO video game competitions. “It is a result of multiple years of education on our part and other publishers’ parts to let people know that this is not a fad, this is not something that’s going away,” Whalen Rozelle, director of eSports at Riot Games,“There is a large generation of sports fans, a new breed of sports fans whose ‘sports’ are the games that they love to play. Shaq, has filmed eSports promos for the team.
NRG fields two franchises in professional esports leagues: Overwatch’s San Francisco Shock and Call of Duty’s Chicago Huntsmen. It also competes in games like Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. and Apex Legends.
Xavier Woods: He is one of the most entertaining WWE Superstars. Woods is an excellent worker who could thrive if the WWE rekindled the cruiserweight division.
On top of all that, he loves video games. He is more into playing games than having invested in it, when it comes to chilling he says he always gaming.
How big of a gamer is he? He has his own YouTube channel called UpUpDownDown. Hardcore gamers will know the name is an ode to a famous cheat code in the old Konami classic Contra.
Woods’ channel features live gameplay and commentary from himself and several other WWE Superstars. He talks about his affinity for card games such as Magic: The Gathering and others in the genre. If you’ve ever seen Woods in action on WWE programming, you know his personality is too big to be contained in one format. Check out UpUpDownDown to see another side of Woods and other members of the WWE roster,