Roc Nation Sports Co-Signs The $3.5 Billion Esports Industry Through New GCN Partnership
By Chika Dunu
- Roc Nation Sports has partnered with eSports media agency Gaming Community Network (GCN) to create authentic bespoke athlete-centric strategies for gamers and streamers
- Jay-Z, Shaquille O’Neal, The Weeknd, Will Smith, and Drake have all invested in the eSports industry that’s expected to reach $3.5B by 2025
Roc Nation Sports, founded by Jay-Z, has partnered with eSports media agency Gaming Community Network (GCN) to create opportunities for gamers and streamers. This multi-year partnership is geared towards creating “authentic bespoke athlete-centric strategies, including esports tournaments, gaming content syndication across the GCN Network which includes 85+ gaming and esports-centric websites.” The esports industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2025, according to a study by Juniper Research, perhaps driving more cultural trendsetters to stake their claim in the sector.
Why This Matters: ESports have allured the interest of Hollywood’s brightest, including Will Smith, who in 2019, alongside Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda were part of a $46 million investment into esports company Gen G. Rap megastar Drake, who is the co-owner of the eSports organization 100 Thieves, has also invested in eSports betting startup Players' Lounge. Even Grammy-winning artist Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye invested in OverActive Media, the parent company of the Overwatch League franchise Toronto Defiant.
NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal was one of the first premier athletes to join forces with the eSports industry. O’Neal was an early investor in NRG Esports, an organization co-founded by Sacramento Kings co-owner Andy Miller, who became enthralled with the industry after attending a tournament with his son.
Brodie Van Wagenen, Roc Nation Sports Head of Strategy and Business Development, spoke of the impact the collaboration can have on the sports world as a result of the two entities combining its strengths. “By pairing GCN’s vast network and capabilities with Roc Nation Sports’ diverse global footprint, our clients will be able to connect to a broader community while growing their personal brands and businesses through innovative and multi-facing gaming projects, Van Wagenen said”
What’s Next: Esports isn’t slowing down any time soon and the industry is ripe for cultivating and investing in up-and-coming talent. Over 200 colleges have esports programs and offer scholarships for players, though Moorehouse is the only HBCU. Amazon (AMZN -0.74%) owned Twitch and Cxmmunity are creating the first ever HBCU esports league meant to help close the diversity gap in the gaming industry.
CBx Vibe: “Basketball” Bow Wow