TORONTO — The Weeknd has joined the OverActive Media Group ownership and will serve as global ambassador for the Canadian esports company.
The Toronto R&B singer and producer, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, is now part of an ownership group whose principle investors include the Kimel family — including Michael Kimel, part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins — and tech entrepreneur Sheldon Pollock.
OverActive Media owns the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League.
It also owns Splyce, a U.S. company that has a stable of international esports teams.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming a global superstar like Abel to our investor family,” OverActive Media president and CEO Chris Overholt said in a statement Wednesday. “Abel’s standing in the music industry will provide our Toronto Defiant and Splyce brands the opportunity to reach more fans and engage new audiences.”
OverActive Media also owns teams in the League of Legends European Championship, Call of Duty World League, Rocket League, StarCraft and Smite. The esports company is only one of five organizations in the world with permanent slots in both League of Legends and Overwatch League.
“As a big esports fan, I am really excited to be involved in this project,” The Weeknd said in a statement. “I am looking forward to collaborating with OverActive Media in unique and innovative ways.”
OverActive said the singer will be an “important part of (its) brand-building efforts across Canada and around the world.”
The Weeknd joins former mentor Drake in the ranks of global ambassadors in the Toronto sports arena. Drake serves that role with the Toronto Raptors, whose training centre is named after his OVO brand.
The Weeknd, who is 29, boasts three straight No. 1 appearances on the Billboard 200 albums chart with “My Dear Melancholy,” “Starboy” and ”Beauty Behind the Madness.”
The Defiant (1-1) currently sit eighth in Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. The Toronto team finished third in Stage 1 with a 5-2 record.
The Defiant face the Philadelphia Fusion on Friday.