Written by Contributing Intern Matthew Carrico

Professional athletes are becoming more invested and involved in esports, and it’s no wonder why.

Everyday the growing esports industry continues to garner interest from a variety of different parties. Everyone from interested students to potential investors look to find a successful venture in the field. It’s at the point where most well-known companies are putting their foot in the ring too. Even fast-food companies (a topic I covered a while ago) and media industry reps are making impacts. Other recent examples include Crunchyroll’s integration with the St. Clair Saints and eFuse buying College CoD along with the College Carball Association (CCA). This success does not go unnoticed even in the realm of traditional professional sports. In fact, there’s a recent wave of professional athletes wanting to make their mark in the world of esports.

Kenny Vaccaro Puts Gamers First

Kenny Vaccaro is a former football safety for the New Orleans Saints. He was No. 15 in the 2015 draft for the Saints and spent eight years on the field. During the course of his career, he amassed 610 tackles, 35 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 10 interceptions and 44 defended passes. According to an article by ESPN, Vaccaro recently quit in order to pursue a new dream: competing in the Halo World Championships.

Pro Athletes Esports

Image credit: G1 and Jamie Thomson

Vaccaro started his own esports organization to compete in the Halo World Championships and play Destiny. His organization Gamers First (G1) has already signed 8 promising players: 4 creators for Destiny and 4 players to compete in Halo. The mission statement of G1 is to help players follow their dreams and to instill positive mental health in the fans and players. 

Vaccaro mentions in the article that he is considered a free agent. Despite offers, deals, and contracts from other football teams, he primarily wants to focus on G1 right now. There are plans underway for G1 to participate in various charity events and community-focused endeavors. As a professional sports player looking to make an impact with esports, Kevin Vaccaro looks to go far with G1.

David de Gea Enters With Rebels Gaming

David de Gea Quintana is a Spanish professional soccer player for the Manchester United Premier League and the Spain National football team. He is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers during the second half of the 2010s. His official number is 1 and he has won many titles and championships over the course of his career. Despite still being a prominent figure in his field, he too has entered the esports field with his own organization: Rebels Gaming.

Pro Athletes Esports

Image credit: Rebels Gaming

With Rebels Gaming, the organization looks to compete in titles such as Valorant, League of Legends and Rainbow 6 Siege. According to De Gea on the official website for Rebels Gaming (Via Translation), the reason for establishing the organization is due to technology creating new opportunities for people to follow their dreams. Rebels Gaming has a facility housed in Madrid, Spain. Along with a roster of players for each game, they will also showcase a roster for their content creators and streamers.

De Gea has had a growing interest in esports for some time and mentions in a story by Esports News UK that Rainbow 6 Siege is his favorite title. This passion elevated him to bring Rebels Gaming to life. Currently Rebels Gaming is active in esports with their Valorant team playing in the second division of the Spanish Superliga. While juggling a professional soccer career and esports, David de Gea looks to make his dreams and those of his players come true.

More Professional Athletes are coming to Esports

The stories covered today are recent examples of professional sports players making their rounds in esports. There have been other examples in the past. According to an article from Forbes, players such as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Chad Ochocino and Odell Beckham are also among those making impacts in esports. For them, it usually comes in the form of sponsorships, investments and outright taking ownership of their own teams. This just goes to show how close sports and esports are in terms of brand recognition.

It is inevitable that more professional athletes both current and future will want to make an impact with esports. Therefore, it would be important for them to follow the examples of those that preceded them. With this impact, sports and esports can coincide with one another in order to bring in more fans. Until then, be sure to check out other great content from CheckpointXP


I love writing, food, and video games. Currently playing: Inscryption, Valorant, Apex, Smash, GTFO, & Phasmophobia.