ESPORTS

The popularity of eSports has exploded in recent years, growing to an industry representing millions of dollars in prize money and millions of fans and players.

As with traditional pro sports, eSports has broadcasting networks, sponsors, prize money, packed arenas and intense competition. The eSports industry is going head to head with powerhouse events such as the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals — and sometimes outperforming — for viewership, crowds and cash.

The International 7, the video game Dota 2’s largest tournament, in 2016 had a prize pool of $20.77 million, primarily through crowdfunding, compared to the 2016 U.S. Master’s Golf Tournament, with a prize pool of $11 million, according to ESPN.

In Summer 2017, a campaign began to form a city-based, global professional sports league with team owners committing to build brick-and-mortar stadiums for the virtual world. Investors from the traditional and eSports worlds quickly snapped up team slots for the Overwatch League.

Frisco is embracing the virtual world as solidly as it does the traditional sports world. Getting in on the ground floor, Frisco has already welcomed game developer, Gearbox Software, and has several proposed projects in the works to bring additional industry partners to town. City leadership expects its collection of eSports companies to grow as quickly as the industry.