Jordan Belfort is no stranger to the limelight. The former stockbroker, who used his time in prison on a securities fraud conviction to write memoirs that would be immortalized by Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, has transformed himself into a motivational speaker–but his entrepreneurial nature remains strong as ever. Now, he’s set his sights on esports, and a largely overlooked player base.
In the next step of his storied career, 59-year-old Belfort is partnering with an up-and-coming esports organization to run a Valorant tournament for college players–and it appears to be the start of a new, long-term investment in an explosively popular sector.
Brag House, an esports platform founded by CEO Lavell Juan to tap into the rapidly expanding casual collegiate competitive gaming market, has partnered with Belfort to launch The Wolf Bowl: a bracket-based Valorant tournament that aims to offer a major mainstream championship for university students who want to represent their school on the national stage.
While Brag House is still barely two years old, its unique position in the market has already attracted the support of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, which partnered with Juan’s company in 2021 to host a tailgate party for a gaming event at the University of Dallas at Texas, where there’s a recognized varsity esports team.
Now, Belfort wants to invest his time, expertise, and contacts into the venture and take Brag House to the next level.
He says: “Whenever I’m looking at whether I should get involved, the one question is: what can I bring to the table? Is it a good match? Sometimes it’s just not, you know. Maybe it’s just a monetary investment. In this case, this really gets me going and we’ll make it really fun and cool. I’m going to all the colleges around the world. I think it’s going to be a very, very big thing.”
When he was approached by Brag House through a mutual acquaintance, Belfort says he immediately realized the company’s potential, and the unique opportunity it had to tap into a community with a true passion for competitive gaming–even if it isn’t one at an elite level.
“Lavell is a very sober and long-term thinker,” he says. “I was like, this guy’s the real deal, because he was actually walking the walk, and doing it all on a shoestring budget. Lavell is a really solid operator, and I think he’s gonna build a massive company.”
Belfort–whose own son, an avid and successful Call of Duty player, completely reversed his belief that gaming “was a worthless industry all about fun and games,” fervently believes he’s the perfect partner for Brag House, especially in a modern era of monetization through advertising, streaming, merchandise, and fandom.
“I don’t think you could find many people better to be a brand ambassador for this sport or company than myself,” he says. “I’m really honestly speaking. Take the demographics of my brand, and overlay it to especially what Brag House is trying to accomplish. You couldn’t find a better match for me in terms of a brand.”
For Juan, the partnership is a no-brainer. While many may raise an eyebrow at Belfort given his checkered past, Juan has done his due diligence, speaking with experts who “reassured [him] that Jordan today is highly respected in the investment community.” He also underlines Belfort’s modern role as “a motivational speaker and mentor to young, aspiring professionals across the United States”–something that matches Juan’s own desire to offer a positive offering for young gamers.
He adds: “Jordan is a college graduate and very competitive in his nature, while his captivating personality fits our social network–one built on fun, competitiveness and community. It really is a perfect fit.”
Originally slated to take place from April 21–30, The Wolf Bowl has been postponed to August, due to the overwhelming interest generated by Belfort’s involvement.
“Because of the amazing outpour from fans, we decided to move the tournament to allow more people to participate,” Juan says. “We also received several requests from sponsors who wanted to get involved but asked for more time.
“We think we can make the event even grander with this additional time–and it’s once again shown us the huge potential of esports across colleges, not just in the U.S., but globally too.”
As it stands, the overall winners are being offered the opportunity to win a “Live Like a Wolf” with a weekend trip to Miami, including time with Belfort himself. However, this may change even ahead of its debut; bigger things are already on the horizon for Juan, including a potential listing on the Nasdaq.
“We see Brag House as the complete social network for nonprofessional college gamers,” Juan says. “In just the US alone, in four years, we are projected to be in over 2,400 colleges and universities in the U.S., and have 22+ million members. We are also making footprints to bring our community international.
“With regard to partners, we welcome anybody that wants to authentically present themselves to our user base. This is why we value Jordan and other partners like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola–they are not looking to be influencers or advertisers on our platform; they are truly interested in understanding the non-professional gaming community.”
As for Belfort, his involvement may certainly speed up Brag House’s growth, but he’s keen to take his time to get everything right.
“One thing I think I’ve certainly learned is the power of patience and letting time do the heavy lifting,” he says. “In the case of amateur esports, the idea is to really build this long-term business and take it international.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is one of patience–not to try to get in and get out. Every mistake I’ve made in my life is mostly trying to do something too quickly.”