Hundreds of eSports Athletes Descend on Dallas This Weekend

Competitive gamers are vying for $200,000 in Call of Duty World League tournament

Here is proof all that time your kid spends playing video games may not be a waste: There is real money to be made in the world of competitive gaming.

This weekend, hundreds of professional and amateur gamers from around the world will descend on the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the opening event of the 2018 Call of Duty World League.

800 players on 200 teams will compete for $200,000 in total prize pool money this weekend. That bounty is part of a total $4.2 million up for grabs during the entire season – a record for Call of Duty gaming

Call of Duty is a wildly popular first-person shooter video game franchise. Activision, the video game publisher that distributes Call of Duty, told investors that as of last February the Call of Duty franchise had sold more than 250 million copies and generated sales of more than $15 billion.

This weekend’s event is hosted by Major League Gaming, the country’s premier eSports organization.

eSports – short for electronic sports – is a term that encompasses a wide array of competitive video gaming. And eSports generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually and they’re played before an audience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Kevin Flynn, who runs the Call of Duty World League, told NBC DFW the question he gets most often during interviews are whether the players in his league are athletes.

The answer, Flynn said, is easy – yes.

“The fact that this is all underpinned through competition [is proof that this is a sport.] This is about competing,” Flynn said. “Now from my country games like snooker and darts - you are certainly not working up too much of a sweat there. But they’re sports, right? And that's what these guys are. These guys are athletes. They’re the athletes of the 21st-century.”

The defending champions of the Call of Duty World League – OpTic Gaming – are based in North Texas.

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