Across the United States and Canada last month, thousands flocked to bars to watch their favorite teams compete at the highest level. They nervously clutched beers, screaming with joy and despair as they followed the play-by-play commentary.
But these dedicated fans weren’t watching college basketball. They were watching Major League Gaming, the largest electronic sports league in North America. The league’s teams played Starcraft II, a real-time sci-fi military strategy game, for a $25,000 prize in front of thousands in Columbus, Ohio.
Electronic sports, or esports, have long been the realm of South Korea, home to the masters of professional gaming. But over the last few years, esports have become more and more popular in North America. And now, Major League Gaming hopes to imitate South Korea’s success, seeking investors and sponsors to help it grow financially.