Magic Johnson, Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Aoki, and now Michelle Rodriguez — what do these celebrities have in common? They are, in one way or another, getting in on the growing craze of Esports.
It’s become obvious that video gaming competition, also known as esports, is here to stay. In 2016, the industry produced an estimated $493 million in revenue — a growth of 51.7% from 2015 — and in 2017 that number hit $1.5 billion that number is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2019, according to Statista.
With the industry projected to keep on growing, it’s no surprise that many investors have looked at esports as a pot filled with gold at the end of a rainbow. Included in these esports hopefuls is a growing list of celebrities. One of the greatest NBA players of all time, Magic Johnson teamed up with philanthropist Tony Robbins to start a company called aXiomatic, which has invested in a number of esports areas, one of them being Team Liquid, a successful global esports team franchise; In 2015, Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher bought into Unikrn, a platform that allows esports fans to bet on pro gaming matches in real time; Well known DJ Steve Aoki bought a majority stake in Rogue, an Overwatch and CS:GO team that was founded in May of 2016; and former Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal co-owns an eSports organisation called NRG, which has teams competing across a number of different games, including LoL and CS:GO.
Adding to this growing list is Michelle Rodriguez (“Fast and the Furious,” “Avatar”). While Rodriguez (pictured) doesn’t own any portion of an esports team, she has signed on to be a special guest on Twin Galaxies’ H1Z1 Pro League’s inaugural broadcast live from Las Vegas this Saturday, April 21st at 7pm. H1Z1 Pro League is the first professional battle royale esports league created where 15 teams battle it out all at the same time on the same stage.
The actress will join Kristine Leahy, co-host of Emmy®-nominated “American Ninja Warrior” and “FS1’s The Herd,” on stage to present the event to a live audience at the newly christened Twin Galaxies Esports Center and to millions of gamers and fans across the world tuning-in exclusively on Facebook.
“With the insane growth and popularity of the battle royale video game format, anticipation for the start of the world’s first professional battle royale esport league has been off the charts,” said Jace Hall, co-chairman of Twin Galaxies. “We can’t think of a better team to bring this spectacle to life than Michelle Rodriguez, avid gamer and one of the world’s most accomplished action movie and TV stars and Kristine Leahy, highly regarded network sports anchor and TV host.”
After the opening weekend broadcast, Leahy will serve as the official H1Z1 Pro League host as audiences witness each H1Z1 Pro League team, including globally known franchises like TSM, Cloud 9, and Echo Fox, compete over the course of two, 10-week “splits” at the 50,000-square foot, state-of-the-art Twin Galaxies Esports Center every Wednesday night at 7pm PT.