SAN ANTONIA – May 6, 2022 in the new Tech Port Center + Arena were many first.
“This event is a really big deal. If you will, this is the opening of the fifth season of the Overwatch League. And we have Dallas Fuel playing with the one, only Houston Outlaws, ”says Lori Burgess, Beasley eSports CTO, owner of Houston Outlaws
The event was called “Battle for Texas,” the first eSports tournament held at the recently completed Tech Port Center + Arena. It was the first time the “Overwatch League Season 5” tournament was held in person in North America since the cancellation of the COVID-19 pandemic last season.
Two teams from the Overwatch League – Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws – competed for No. 1 in Texas in a video game tournament.
“The Tech Port Arena, a group of owners, approached us even before they started building here, and offered us to create a multifunctional arena in which they would like to hold major e-sports events, and they convinced us to help them open this arena.” says Burgess.
The big reason for this is that the eSports arena itself is growing, from huge prizes for competitive players to eSports scholarships for students. Many industries are looking into the world of eSports to attract the best talent in technology.
“If you look at our aerospace customers, robotics, cybersecurity and even military missions, they all look at eSports and games as a new area of search, recruitment, talent retention, how to optimize their activities and virtualize learning,” says Will Garrett. vice president of talent and technology development and integration at Port SA.
You can probably already tell that eSports is more than just a few friends sitting together on the couch. This is an organized competition. Included are all kinds of games such as “FIFA” or “NBA2k”, first person shooters such as “Call of Duty”, or fighting games such as “Super Smash Brothers”, “Tekken” or “Mortal Kombat”.
“Overwatch is a team shooter for heroes (game). And basically, you have a team of five people fighting against another team of five people and they are trying to achieve certain goals. This game has a special base of fans who watched the game and the players at every turn before the game was even open to the public, ”said Malik Forte, ceremonial master of the Battle of Texas.
Many eSports games are played in teams from different leagues. These leagues run for a predetermined time, similar to the season in other sports.
Teams or players are also evaluated based on performance when they compete during the season. In the end, the best teams or players get to the playoffs. Then the top two fight in the final. Winnings can be large sums of money.
In 2021, the prize pool for the annual season of one of the most popular eSports games, Dota 2, was $ 40,000,000. The best team received $ 18,000,000 divided between five players.
“There is a whole industry around eSports that is really promoted and cultivated. It’s more than just a game, but it’s like the broadcasters behind it, the marketing behind it, the graphic design. So it’s really a whole industry, ”says Chris Saenz, eSports director of the local YMCA.
In Texas, the game has 25,000 jobs, and the annual economic impact is estimated at $ 4,100,000,000.
Tech Port Center + Arena is unique when it comes to eSports. This is not the first eSports arena in Texas, but it is the first built specifically for this. The facility is expected to be a major competitor to already established eSports venues across the state.
“It starts with infrastructure. Typically, like our traditional eSports arenas – the Dallas arena is a converted conference space, and the HyperX Arena used to be a restaurant – nothing was actually built from scratch like what we have here, ”said Sam Elizonda. , eSports Director Tech Port Center + Arena.
“This is probably the most challenging arena I’ve seen, built specifically for eSports.”
“The fact that there are a lot of concessions in this arena – several levels so people can sit and watch the game – I feel like you can really immerse yourself and still be a part of the event, no matter where you are in that place. “,” said Elizonda.
The venue was almost roomy for the first eSports tournament.
So will this $ 70,000,000 investment be worth it?
It’s probably too early to know, but it’s safe to say that San Antonio has joined other Texas cities in trying to improve its game.
“Various cities, such as San Antonio, Houston, Austin and other cities across the country, are thinking about eSports. You know, the opportunity to have opportunities that allow children to come and engage, ”Elizonda said. “The right kind of internet, you need the right equipment, you need the right coaches. And in addition to that, really celebrate eSports and not say, “Hey, my kids don’t have to play video games.” This is stupid. It’s like, no, no, no, it’s a sport and an industry that is growing like crazy. “
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