In case you missed it, esports are big business now and competitive gamers spent 2018 continuing to capture the attention (and the money) of the traditional sports world.
The esports industry is on pace to bring in more than $900 million in revenue this year, and that number could reach as high as $2.4 billion by 2020, according to gaming research firm Newzoo. Competitive gaming has taken such a leap into the mainstream in recent years that even Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is following the industry's growth, with the firm recently predicting that, by 2022, the audience for esports will grow to 276 million people, putting it on par with the most popular traditional sports, including the NFL.
Unsurprisingly, the rapid growth of esports, and the vast amounts of money and exposure at stake, has attracted a great amount of interest from investors who want to get in on the action. Even before this year, several big names were already investing in esports companies and teams, including celebrities and athletes from traditional sports. Among them: Mark Cuban, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, former MLB star Alex Rodriguez, high-profile NFL owners Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, and celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Tony Robbins, and Jennifer Lopez.
Those athletes, team owners and celebrities helped pave the way for more big names to join the ranks of esports investors in 2018, when everyone from Michael Jordan to Drake was looking to pump more money into the industry.
Here's a look at some of the biggest athletes and celebrities who invested in esports in 2018: