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Hi.
I'm Michael Kosta.
And before I started covering the news on cable TV, I was a successful professional athlete.
What sport? Tennis. Duh.
I was ranked 864 in the world, so I was a natural to investigate the newest sport sweeping the nation.
Video games?
Competitive video gaming, known as esports, is booming.
There's even a training center with five training rooms and six locker rooms.
The Olympics are considering adding esports.
I went to California to a so-called training center in someone's garage to talk with these Ethletes about why video games isn't a sport.
What the hell is this?
This was the Alienware Training Facility for eSports' Team Liquid.
Complete with scrimmage stations, a war room, PR department, a team coach, and even an in-house chef.
The team's star, whose name is Taco, was acquired from Brazil's top team.
This is a real sport.
You call yourself an athlete?
Yes, of course.
We compete, we go to tournaments, we travel a lot, we got some money.
What does an eSport athlete, Mr. Taco, do every day?
- Just practice. - Yeah.
I'm a former professional tennis player.
That-That's what I would call, like, a-a real sport.
There is an opponent, and you would relish the opportunity to defeat them with your racket.
What do you actually have to show for what you're doing?
Yeah, but, come on.
I-I have a-a really strong finger.
- A finger? - Yes.
This finger have already killed at least one million people.
- That finger's killed one million people? - Yes.
At least.
Taco is referring to his kills in Counter-Strike, a game where guys shoot other guys before a bomb goes off, apparently.
How is this a sport?
I won the Ann Arbor Junior Open at 11 years old.
How hard could it be to pound on these dorks?
What are you staring at, huh?
I'll whup your ass next.
- TACO: To the left, to the left. -To the left?
You think-- Oh, Jesus Christ!
I shot him four times; he shoots me once and I die?
These games were clearly rigged against more muscular athletes.
Aw, Jesus.
How do I keep dying, Taco?
But who's paying for these cucks to sit around all day and mash buttons?
Apparently, guys like three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, owner of eSports franchise Echo Fox.
What are you doing with these nerds, man?
You're a real athlete.
And so are they.
What the shit are you talking about?
Me and you, we played real sports, you know?
You can see our balls in our pants when we play.
Were you an athlete?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
I played professional tennis.
I was ranked 864 in the world.
Oh, okay...You win-- you win a couple of tournaments?
No, I didn't win the tournaments, but... (stammers)
How much money did you make in your career?
I made $11,000, about.
But there's-there's a whole system, and I-I was, you know, right in there, playing as a pro athlete.
Oh, okay... In our era, I think there was no shame around pursuing a career in professional sports.
Because you could get a scholarship to college, which, by the way, you can get as an eSport player now.
Uh, there's a number of colleges that are building eSports arenas on their campuses.
-This is all great. -Yeah.
But let's get down to brass tacks here.
How much do these ethletes make?
Probably the best, top player in the world in one of our games, he makes probably $800,000.
What?
And while players like Taco made over $800K last year, other top gamers earned upwards of $4 million.
And thanks to advertising and sponsorships, revenues will top $1.4 billion this year!
$1.4 billion?!
Are you kidding me?!
But what really makes it legit is Vegas sportsbooks take bets on it.
So I did what anyone would do, sold my dog for 3,000 bucks and put it all on Team Liquid at the Barclays Center.
I'll buy him back after I win.
Amsterdam. London. Cologne. Montreal.
I don't give a shit!
You're in Brooklyn now, baby!
This is the Barclays Center.
This is where champions play.
And the Brooklyn Nets.
We're gonna heal as a team or we're gonna die as individuals.
Did I make myself clear?
-Yeah. -Yeah. -Yeah. -Yeah.
Come on!
All right, ignore all that, and we just follow the game plan.
Let's go, guys.
It was time for Team Liquid to win in the semifinals and make me some money.
Team Liquid!
Let's go, baby, let's go!
It definitely felt like a real sport.
These gaming gladiators were ready for battle.
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for, Team Liquid versus Gambit!
Click your mouse!
They flexed their fingers.
They clicked their buttons.
They adjusted their headsets.
Come on!
-Liquid! -Taco! -Liquid! -Taco!
Hey, let's start the wave, starting over here!
Watch the stairs...watch the--
-Oh! -Oh!
They fought to outmaneuver, evade, and shoot their opponents' heads off.
And just when it looked like Team Liquid was on the ropes, they rallied.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
The next round finalist is Team Liquid!
That's what I'm talking about!
That's what I'm talking about, baby!
Number one!
Team Liquid!
Are video games a sport?
Who cares?
I'm rich.
Time to try to buy my dog back.
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