When you signed with the Warriors in 2013, was Silicon Valley and the tech world in mind or were you already involved investmentwise? Andre Iguodala: I’ve always been thinking about it. [Los Angeles Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka, who was my agent at the time … we were always talking about the tech space. Rob would always say, ‘Being in Silicon Valley would be great.’ And with the Warriors, the basketball side matched up with the business side. We are in a situation where you can have success on both sides. “So when I got to free agency, man, it was perfect timing as far as the team having Steph, Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green], [then-coach] Mark Jackson. You could make a play on both ends of the spectrum. It just so happened the timing was good.
Andre Iguodala: You had a guy like Lou Amundson. He played in the league a couple of years, and he made the most of the time he played and networked with everybody. He got tours of different startup companies, gaming companies, VR [virtual reality] companies. He has been able to test a lot of different products. Guys like that make the most of these events. We want to make that the norm with guys getting to network with everybody, helping those companies. Or vice versa, the companies helping the player. You never know what they lead to.
An investment made by Kobe Bryant has yielded more than 30 times its money in fewer than four-and-a-half years. On Tuesday, Coca-Cola announced it purchased a minority stake in sports drink BodyArmor. Bryant made his first investment in the brand, for roughly 10 percent of the company, in March 2014, putting in a total of roughly $6 million over time. Based on the valuation of the Coca-Cola deal, his stake is now worth approximately $200 million, sources told ESPN.
As part of their endorsement deals, many athletes had equity stakes in BodyArmor. Sources tell ESPN that as many as a dozen superstar athletes could also have stakes themselves in BodyArmor worth more than $1 million including James Harden, Dustin Johnson and Andrew Luck.
Many owners believe that testing the format and giving owners not invested in esports outside of the 2K League a chance to experience the industry for the first time is healthy, according to sources. However, others have been disappointed by the viewership and engagement that have led to struggle in advertising and partnership sales, sources said. The $750,000 franchise fee for the 2K League and subsequent team operating costs are minuscule compared to the level of required capital to enter the more popular esports titles. The League Championship Series required its owners to commit to a multiyear contract that would see its teams pay $10 million to $13 million in franchises fees. The Overwatch League, in its first season, required $20 million over multiple years in franchise payments — and for its second season, it has sold teams for more than $35 million, sources said.
Following his 30 minute presentation, Jaylen Brown joined Emily Chang on Bloomberg Technology, discussing everything from the venture capital world, to technology and education. The TV spot was another prime example of the 21-year-old’s impressive maturity.