The world of traditional sports continues to merge with the growing esports space. Athletes accustomed to draining three-pointers, hitting home runs or scoring touchdowns are increasingly picking up controllers and spending hours playing video games to grow their personal brands.
Jay Z’s Roc Nation is poised to launch an esports initiative to create opportunities in the esports world, including tournaments, live streaming events and gaming content, that would pair with its roster of traditional sports athletes and brands.
The effort is a multi-year partnership between Roc Nation Sports—a subdivision of the entertainment company that functions as a management and sports agency—and media group Gaming Community Network (GCN), part of esports agency GameSquare. The deal's terms are still being finalized.
As part of the partnership, GCN will work with Roc Nation Sports athletes to create opportunities in the space and produce content that will live across GCN’s more than 85 gaming and sports websites. GCN will also strategize with athletes to pair them with the esports and games that fit with their interests. Roc Nation Sports’ roster of players includes Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back Leonard Fournette, Belgium soccer player Romelu Lukaku and Phoenix Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, among others.
“Increasingly, athletes are engaging in the world of esports gaming,” Brodie Van Wagenen, chief operating officer and head of strategy and business development at Roc Nation Sports, said in a statement. “Younger audiences represent a hugely influential and important demographic to reach. 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.”