E-Sports Reach Pro-Athletic Status, Fandom — And Money | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

E-Sports Reach Pro-Athletic Status, Fandom — And Money

Play associated audio

Online competitive gaming is increasingly mirroring the world of professional sports. E-sports are attracting hard-working teams that compete for millions of dollars in prize money.

Generally, gamers wage battles with one another using rapid clicks of a computer mouse. "A lot of it comes down to reflexes, but a lot of [it] is strategy," says David Gorman, a sportscaster for the popular e-sport, Dota 2. "It's very much like chess, except it's in real time. Almost like speed chess."

Despite this seemingly sedentary pastime, Gorman tells NPR's Jacki Lyden, these players are like professional athletes, practicing hours each day with specialized training staff. Even the U.S. immigration service agrees: E-sports players receive the same visas given to visiting baseball and soccer stars.

In the latest sign that the value of gamers is rising, e-sports team members are now being traded to other teams, notes Gorman, who founded the Lost Angeles-based Beyond The Summit, which broadcasts e-sports coverage. Last week, one Chinese player was traded for $85,000.

Dota 2, where teams of five players face off, is particularly popular in China. One of the country's richest men purchased an entire team for $6 million in 2011.

There's big money from the fan base, too. Professional teams are packing large venues, and selling out tickets, Gorman says. The events he commentates, which are carried online and sponsored by advertising revenue, attract up to a million viewers.

"It's really a very global phenomenon," Gorman says. "The audience will come to the venue, but there's people — millions of people — watching from around the world.

League of Legends is even more popular than Dota 2. Last October, the world championship broke all records with 8.5 million viewers live-streaming. That final game, which was broadcast on a big screen above the heads of the players onstage, was played before of a sold-out crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"It's really not just people playing in their basements," Gorman says. "I don't know if that ever was the case, but it's certainly not how the top teams are organized now."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

Nearly a dozen notebooks and journals by the author, who fought in the British Army during the war, are being released to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.
NPR

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.
WAMU 88.5

McDonnell Corruption Trial: Defense Zeroes In On Star Witness' Credibility

Defense attorney William Burck is focusing on inconsistencies in what Jonnie Williams told investigators as well as his stock dealings.
NPR

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

A report from a local Philadelphia TV station is re-igniting a debate and getting people all up in arms. (Or should we say, up in hands?)

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.