Shaquille O'Neal, Alex Rodriguez among investors in NRG Esports
Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O'Neal and Jimmy Rollins are among the latest investors in esports.
NRG eSports, which has one five-player team that competes in League of Legends and another team of five focusing on Counter-Strike, announced Thursday that Rodriguez, O'Neal and Rollins contributed to their latest financing round.
The teams are owned by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, who along with O'Neal are minority partners of the Sacramento Kings.
Shaquille O'Neal, along with Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins, became the latest celebrity investors in esports, contributing to NRG eSports' latest financing round. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
"Valuations of teams are still small," Miller told ESPN.com. "They wanted to get in super early as they are seeing the giant viewership numbers that are dwarfing pro sports right now."
Miller did not disclose the size of the investment. He said he expects to call on Rodriguez, O'Neal and Rollins to assist the team.
"All know what it's like to be super young and play in front of millions of fans every week," Miller said. "We need that guidance and perspective."
Miller also said he won't be shy on calling on his celebrity owners if he needs to sign a player.
Rick Fox, O'Neal's former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, bought an esports team, Echo Fox, in December. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is an investor in esports betting startup Unikrn.
Said Miller: "This is pro sports for the millennial generation. We will see other pro sports owners buying in by the end of the year for sure."
O'Neal's employer, Turner, is co-owner with WME/IMG of an esports league called the ELEAGUE, which will broadcast Counter-Strike competitions.