B1 Intermediate US 34 Folder Collection
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With viewers, sponsorships and prize pools now outpacing even some traditional sports,
video games are suddenly a more viable career path than ever.
At schools like Maryville University and Columbia College in Missouri, there's a hope in the
back of players' minds that their talent might get them noticed.
"My biggest passion in life is competitive League of Legends."
"I never expected to be a professional gamer.
… You never thought about that growing up."
For being less than a decade old, professional League of Legends is in a pretty good place.
Pros on the North American circuit can rake in a six-figure salary.
The biggest annual tournaments put millions of dollars on the line.
And esports as an industry now supports more careers — from coaching and broadcast to
programming and graphic design.
Some players even make a living streaming gameplay on platforms like Twitch.
And by most counts, "League of Legends" is the most popular online game.
Last time Riot Games talked about stats, 27 million people logged in to play every day.
And 43 million people tuned in to watch streams of the 2016 world championship.
That's approaching the popularity of some World Series or NBA Finals games.
So why not go pro?
Players are already putting in the focus and the hours to make "League of Legends" a full-time
job.
Their performance shows that all the teamwork and communication they've honed — works.
The best college players are among the most skilled in the world, in the top tenth of
one percent of everyone who plays "League."
As they say, academics come first.
But players know if they're good enough, they might get other opportunities.
"I want to be a professional more than, like, anything ever."
"The hope would be to do it professionally, right?
But the realistic goal is to get a job with my computer science degree.
Coaches are also aware that their best players might get offers from pro teams.
"When opportunities come up, a professional team asks you to play, it's kind of hard to
turn it down.
"I have no problem with them going pro if they want to.
Who wouldn't want to go pro if they have the drive for it, you know?
… I make sure that they read the contracts.
… You never know what the contract's going to say or state."
That didn't happen during Maryville's 2017 season.
And if it ever does, it's still not for everyone.
The time and effort needed to go pro is even more demanding than playing for a varsity
team.
"To go pro, you have to be really motivated, and you have to dedicate a lot of your time.
I don't feel like I'm at a place where I can commit as much time as my teammates."
Andrew Smith is pursuing Maryville's Rawlings Sport Business Management degree.
He expects to graduate in 2019.
"I never expected to go to college for playing videogames.
… It's kind of weird to look back and think about it.
… It's not like it's something I dreamt about.
It just happened.
That's the coolest part."
"It was always a pipe dream of mine to eventually make it pro."
"If I can't make it as a pro player, I would love to work for an organization, or even
riot games, as part of their broadcast team."
Since the 2017 season, Connor Doyle has moved to Lourdes University in Ohio to finish a
degree in business administration and captain the school's "League of Legends" team.
He's also interning as a coach for Wind and Rain, a "League" team on the European pro
circuit.
But he remembers where he started: With the team he helped build when he signed on at
Columbia College.
"That process taught me a lot about myself, taught me how to be a better leader."
"This was when I was at Colby College, my sophomore year.
I had to make a decision whether or not I wanted to try to make it pro and follow my
dream.
It feels a little crazy, looking back, but I think I made the right decision."
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Esports is a more promising career than ever

34 Folder Collection
Shinichiro published on January 30, 2020
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