NFL star Kenny Vaccaro starts G1, his own esports team

Kenneth Williams • December 2, 09:28

For Kenny Vaccaro, starting a new esports team is worth more than an NFL salary.

Professional American football player Kenneth “Kenny” Vaccaro has announced that he is leaving the NFL to start an esports organization. Gamers First, abbreviated as G1, has already acquired a competitive team for Halo Infinite and a suite of Destiny 2 content creators. While other pro athletes have previously entered the gaming world, ending a successful NFL career to create a sponsor is a first for esports.

G1 has already acquired multiple sponsors including Tennessee-based pizza chain Slim & Husky’s and gaming supplement provider ADVANCED.gg. In addition to fielding a roster in the Halo Championship Series, Kenny Vaccaro has also started his own streaming career. His Twitch channel focuses on Halo and Destiny 2, which has clearly influenced G1’s starting rosters.

In 2013, Kenny Vaccaro was drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints. He later transferred to the Tennessee Titans for the 2018 through 2020 seasons. He had a highly successful career as a defensive back, which makes this move all the more surprising. According to official statements, he has been planning this transition for several years. 

“I’ve been a gamer for even longer than I’ve been playing football, and I’ve always thought of myself as a gamer first. So this is the realization of a long-term dream for me,” Vaccaro said. “And while football has been how many have defined me, G1 is evidence for other athletes as well that life doesn’t end just because you put down the helmet.” 

Kenny Vaccaro’s esports team focuses on Halo, Destiny 2

G1 has already announced the acquisition of four competitive Halo Infinite players and a coach. That roster will attempt to compete in the Halo Championship Series, a first-party competitive circuit for the first-person shooter. The HCS is currently running qualifiers across the globe. If G1 is successful, the team could appear in-game with an official esports skin

In addition to Halo esports, G1 will focus on Destiny 2 content. Vaccaro has acquired four Destiny content creators across Twitch and YouTube.

Kenny Vaccaro’s esports team will also focus on content creation outside of its core games. Its first big project was a karting montage featuring the organization’s players. This pursuit rounds out G1’s stated values of competition, culture, and content.

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