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Why LA is the early home of professional eSports




Photo by Achim Barczok via Flickr Creative Commons

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America's unofficial national holiday is the Super Bowl. It doesn't matter what teams are playing, the majority of us are giving the event attention one way or another.

Today, football is America's passion, but it wasn't always that way. A hundred years ago there was no such thing as the NFL. And considering how fast things change nowadays, 100 years from now something else might be at the top of America's sports pyramid -- like eSports, or video game competitions. They've gained a lot of traction in recent years.

Brian Kamenetzky on what eSports are:

"Put most simply, it's video games played professionally. Particularly video games played professionally for an audience, whether it's a live audience televised or streaming over the net. The most popular being sports games like 'FIFA,' 'NBA,' '2K,' you have your first-person shooter games like 'Call of Duty' and 'Halo.' Then there are multiplayer battle games. Things like 'League of Legends' or 'Heroes of the Storm.' These are the types of games that have launched eSports. It's teams of players playing against each other in these big video game competitions."

Andy Kamenetzky on why LA is such a popular eSports town:

"Because Blizzard Entertainment kicked off the first season of the Overwatch League competitive video-game league. It will be the first of its kind in a broadcast facility in Burbank. It seats about 450 people in 50,000 square feet of space and the Overwatch League will run from January through June featuring 12 leagues that will represent cities inside and outside of America. There will be eventual playoffs after the regular season. there's a total prize pool of $3.5 million and all the players are guaranteed at least $50,000 salary and a retirement plan.

"Overwatch is modeling itself in many ways like a traditional sports league. Because there will be two teams repping LA: The LA Outlaws and the LA Valiants. So along with two NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and soon MLS teams, Los Angeles will be a two eSports team city and Angelenos will have to decide which jersey to wear."

Answers have been edited for clarity.

To hear more about the Burbank eSports venue, click here.