The rise of sports

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – The video game industry is a juggernaut in the entertainment sector, generating $155 billion in 2020.

But beyond money, video games and esports games have created other things like career opportunities, college scholarships, and what some are calling the new Starbucks.

At Southeast Missouri State University, the Esports Club has become the most popular club on campus. It has 600 members and has a state-of-the-art venue for players to hone their skills.

“We have students here who compete daily and we have competitions almost every day,” said Southeast esports coordinator Ricky Reed.

And those skills are put to the test. The Southeast has several esports teams that compete against each other almost daily, games like Call of Duty, going mouse-to-mouse against other schools in what has become a team, just like basketball and soccer.

“I started acting when I was, like, five years old.”

Logan Dunlap is like most college students these days, growing up playing video games, and for him when choosing a college, his esports arena was a high priority.

“At first it was just one thing to do, then we started to realize that we could do this, a team, and that was a good thing.”

Eric Redinger of southeastern Missouri said a few years ago that they were behind when it came to an on-campus esports arena, but now it’s a draw .

“When students visit a campus, they might be looking for a great practice facility or they might be looking for something like this, an esports arena where they can compete.”

Students say their esports teams enjoy the same benefits as other student-athletes: teamwork, sportsmanship, and a drive to improve.

The video game world has caught the eye of entrepreneurs like John Truitt. He’s part of a group of investors looking to build something like this at Cape Girardeau, a gaming venue where anyone can register, log in, and compete in the virtual world.

“We’re hoping to work with schools in the area, with their esports teams, and have a place where they can practice esports as well as the other parts of the game, like announcing and producing,” he said. he declares.

Truitt said game centers are popping up all over the world and the United States is lagging behind.

“It’s a lot like the cafes of the ’70s when Starbucks started, and those malls can be very profitable,” he explained.

For many parents, the idea of ​​their kids playing video games for hours on end isn’t ideal. Truitt thought the same thing until he found out his son is good enough to turn pro. Yes, a professional player.

“I found out he was ranked 30th in the world on a game that millions of people have played and that changed my mindset,” he said.

There are professional video game leagues, just like the NFL and FIFA, and in some cases watching professional gamers compete could be compared to the Superbowl.

“You can make six figures, all the way up to millions of dollars, depending on how pro level you are; and a lot of students are realizing that you can get scholarships and you can look at that as a career path,” Truitt said.

Obviously, only a small number of players turn professional and parents have to decide what equates to an unhealthy amount of play, but that changed Truitt’s mindset. If his son had a great throwing arm, he wouldn’t mind training for hours a day.

As for the Relentless Contenders Esports Arena, Truitt said they hope to open it this summer.

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