A 16 year old from Pennsylvania won $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup Sunday. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf played at Arthur Ashe stadium in New York.
That’s big news for local gamers.
Over at the esports lounge at GameWorks in Stapleton, gamers will tell you this is a growing business with a lot of opportunities. Josh Shoeman is a teacher and a competitive gamer. He plays Super Smash Bros Ultimate on Nintendo Switch, and says he’s ranked number one in the state. The 24-year-old spends an hour or two a day playing and practicing. He’s sponsored and brings in some wins.
“I make about $200 to $300 a week going to about three tournaments in Colorado every week,” Shoeman said.
He loves esports and he’s not alone.
Phil Kaplan, the CEO of GameWorks says, “The audience in esports is as big as any traditional sport now.”
Kaplan says there are now high school teams and college teams, similar to traditional sports. If players make it into a professional league, they can make a living wage.
“Entry salaries can be $50,000 to $100,000 before sponsorship,” Kaplan said.
Top players can make big dollars in tournaments and with a streaming channel, if they have a huge audience.
“These are big, big dollars,” Kaplan said. “The top echelon is making hundreds of thousands or a million dollars a month on the streaming side.”
Of course that is only the top of the top players. Many local players have another job, but do all they can to stay involved.
“I organize tournaments, I play in tournaments,” said Colin Nimer.
He works in a restaurant, but also competes and is sponsored. He says he loves the gaming community and there are events every night of the week in Colorado.