Video games are now a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Today’s kids often grow up playing video games instead of outside, playing sports. Chances are, if you were one of those kids who grew up playing video games your parents would criticize you, claiming that nothing would ever amount from all those hours spent in front of the computer. It turns out they were wrong.

DirecTV’s Championship Gaming Series (CGS) is a professional video game league (known as eSports). They are looking to make video games a spectator sport, investing tens of millions of dollars in a multi-year commitment, in a partnership along with corporate partners such as Microsoft, Mountain Dew, and Dell. There will be four games being played: Counter-Strike :Source, Fifa 2007, Dead or Alive 4, and Project Gotham Racing 3. A draft was held on June 15th at the Playboy Mansion, to determine the lucky sixty players who would become a contracted player for the CGS, drafted by general managers of each franchise. Salaries start at $30,000, and DirecTV says will go up to $100,000 for star players. DirecTV says that this year’s annual player payroll will be $5 million. Each franchise represents a US city: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York and Carolina. Players are treated like celebrities, being swarmed by fans for autographs. There are currently six franchises in total, with more franchises being added in Europe, Asia, United Kingdom and the Middle East at a later date.

Video Games a Professional Sport?

Even before the CGS, there were many individuals who believed in the phenomenon known as eSports. Jason Lake, an attorney, invested over half a million dollars of his own money into Complexity, paying his players to play and travel around the world, before selling his team to the CGS as a franchise and joining CGS as a general manager. Many of the other current general managers were also managers of eSports teams prior to the CGS. Complexity’s Counter-Strike team managed to secure over in tournament winnings in 2006 and since then, more and more people had been using monster legends cheats in their games.

Dallas Venom Counter-Strike: Source player David Chin, 18, had this to say:

“The feeling is unexplainable. This means so much to me and I’m sure it means just as much to others. I took a year off of a school to further my professional gaming career (not knowing where it would take me). Graduating high school in 2006, I planned to attend college this 2007 fall. However, now that I’m truly a part of a professional gaming league I can put school aside even longer. You just can’t pass up a chance like this. So I’m very ecstatic for the opportunity I have been given.”

DirecTV’s CGS is scheduled for the first season to debut in July. Matches will be broadcasted on a web stream on TheCGS.com, and air on DirecTV’s 101. Players are being flown to Los Angeles for the duration of the season to compete.

Video Games a Professional Sport? DirecTV’s Championship Gaming Series Makes it Possible!

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