Athletes owning esports organisations

November 11, 2023

Over the last few years, the esports industry has grown exponentially in terms of revenue and viewership. What sets esports apart is its inclusivity. People from all ages and demographics can play together, unlike the orthodox sports with their rigid gender boundaries where even genetics play a major role.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has seen an incredible rise, making celebrities from all walks of life get involved in the esports world.

In this article, we look at some of the top athletes from the orthodox sporting industry who have not only ventured into the esports world but have taken the extra step to own their own esports organisations.

Also read: Top 10: Greatest CS:GO Players of all time

Sergio Agüero

The former Argentina and Manchester City FC striker fulfilled his long-time dream of owning his own esports organisation in October 2020, when he founded KRÜ Esports.

KRÜ Esports currently has teams in the following titles:

  • Rocket League
  • League of Legends (LoL)

Gareth Bale

In February 2020, former Welsh footballer Gareth Bale launched his very own esports organisation called Ellevens Esports.

The organisation currently has EA Sports FC (formerly EA Sports FIFA) and Rocket League rosters, with goals of entering the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Fortnite scenes as well.

David Beckham

The UK-based professional esports company Guild Esports was founded in September 2019 and globally launched in June 2020, with former English footballer David Beckham coming on board as a co-owner of the organisation.

Guild Esports was initially founded as “The Lords Esports” before being rebranded to Guild Esports once Beckham came on board.

Guild Esports currently has teams in:

  • Counter-Strike 2
  • EA Sports FC
  • Fortnite
  • Street Fighter
  • Sim Racing

Guild Esports’ Fortnite team won the Fortnite Champion Series European Grand Finals in March 2021, while its Rocket League team lifted the Rocket League Championship Series EU Spring Regional in April 2021.

David de Gea

Former Spain and Manchester United FC goalkeeper David de Gea launched his own esports organisation, Rebels Gaming, in December 2021. Based out of Madrid, Rebels Gaming currently competes in League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege and VALORANT.

Romain Grosjean

Swiss-French racing driver Romain Grosjean, who competed in Formula One between 2012 and 2020, launched his own esports organisation in April 2020 called R8G Esports — a sim racing-dedicated organisation.

The team competes in various racing-simulation titles such as iRacing.com, rFactor 2, Gran Turismo Sport and Assetto Corsa.

R8G Esports currently has on board the following esports racers:

  • Romain Grosjean
  • Thibault Cazaubon                 
  • Thomas Ronhaar
  • Brendon Leigh       
  • Kylian Drumont
  • Erhan Jajovski       
  • Marcell Csincsik 
  • Jiri Toman 
  • Timea Bencsik
  • Piotr Stachulec
  • Risto Kappet
  • Quentin Vialatte
  • Julien Soenen
  • Elliott Vayron
  • Baptiste Beauvois
  • Maarten van Loozenoord

Since its launch, R8G Esports has collected the following accolades:

  • GT Pro Series Champion
  • World Pro Racing AMD Challenge Champion
  • World Pro Racing GRIIP Champion

With Grosjean having been a former driver for the Haas Formula One team, R8G Esports managed their esports operations for the 2021 season.

Jesse Lingard

English footballer Jesse Lingard acquired the UK-based esports organisation Audacity Esports in August 2021 and rebranded it to “JLINGZ Esports”.

JLINGZ Esports currently has teams in the following titles:

  • HALO
  • League of Legends
  • Apex Legends
  • EA Sports FC

Lando Norris

McLaren Racing’s Lando Norris followed his passion of gaming and content creation to launch his own gaming brand, Quadrant, in November 2020. Quadrant entered the Halo Championship Series in December 2021. Quadrant is both a gaming and a lifestyle brand.

Mesut Özil

Former German footballer Mesut Özil launched his own esports organisation, M10 Esports, in 2018. His passion for gaming and esports led to the inception of M10 Esports. Özil also wanted to provide a platform to the young gamers who wanted to develop and grow their skills.

M10 Esports currently has teams competing in:

  • EA Sports FC
  • Fortnite

John Sherman “JuJu” Smith-Schuster

American gridiron footballer “JuJu” Smith-Schuster launched his own esports organisation, Team Diverge, in October 2020.

Smith-Schuster, who is known for his affinity for esports, launched Team Diverge not only as a gaming organisation but also a cross between sports, gaming and culture.

The New England Patriots wide receiver launched Team Diverge with the vision of building an environment that would see professional gamers, content creators, athletes, musicians and celebrities collaborate together to provide a platform for up-and-coming talent.

Smith-Schuster is also an honorary member of international esports organisation FaZe Clan, having collaborated with it to create content and merchandise.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

American gridiron footballer Marquez Valdes-Scantling founded Trench Made Gaming in May 2021.

Trench Made kicked off with a roster in Call of Duty. The organisation is also looking to compete in other titles and create content, live-stream gameplay and launch its exclusive street wear and merchandise down the line.

Lionel Messi

Leo Messi was announced as a co-owner of his compatriot and former teammate Sergio Agüero’s esports organisation KRÜ Esports in November 2023, thus taking his first steps into the world of esports.

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev joined North American esports organisation M80 as a co-owner in November 2023.

The Russian tennis player advises the organisation on stuff like partnerships and growing the fan base, while also sharing his experience in sports psychology with its teams.

M80 currently has teams in:

  • Counter-Strike 2
  • Street Fighter
  • Rocket League
  • Rainbow Six: Siege

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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Daniil Medvedev has joined esports organisation M80, joining the organisation's ownership group as a co-owner.
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