Hi. I’m Michael Kosta. And before I started
covering the news on cable TV, I was a successful
professional athlete. What sport? Tennis. Duh. I was ranked 864 in the world, so I was a natural
to investigate the newest sport
sweeping the nation. Video games? Competitive video gaming,
known as esports, is booming. There’s even a training center with five training rooms
and six locker rooms. The Olympics are considering
adding esports. KOSTA:
I went to California to a so-called training center
in someone’s garage to talk with these Ethletes about why video games
isn’t a sport. What the hell is this? This was the Alienware
Training Facility for eSports’ Team Liquid, complete
with scrimmage stations, a war room, PR department, a team coach,
and even an in-house chef. The team’s star,
whose name is Taco, was acquired
from Brazil’s top team. This is a real sport. You call yourself an athlete? Yes, of course. We compete,
we go to tournaments, we travel a lot,
we got some money. What does an eSport athlete, Mr. Taco, do every day? -Just practice.
-Yeah. I’m a former professional tennis
player. That-That’s what I would call,
like, a-a real sport. There is an opponent, and you would relish
the opportunity to defeat them with your racket. What do you actually have
to show for what you’re doing? Yeah, but, come on, I-I have
a-a really strong finger. -A finger?
-Yes. This finger have killed
at least one million people. -That finger’s killed
one million people? -Yes. At least. Taco is referring to his kills
in Counter-Strike, a game where guys shoot
other guys before a bomb goes off,
apparently. How is this a sport? I won the Ann Arbor Junior Open
at 11 years old. How hard could it be
to pound on these dorks? What are you staring at, huh?
I’m gonna whup your ass next. -TACO: To the left, to the left.
-To the left? You think– Oh, Jesus Christ! I shot him four times.
He shoots me once and I die? These games were clearly rigged
against more muscular athletes. Aw, Jesus. How do I keep dying, Taco? But who’s paying
for these cucks to sit around all day
and mash buttons? Apparently, guys
like three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, owner
of eSports franchise Echo Fox. What are you doing
with these nerds, man? You’re a real athlete. And so are they. What the shit
are you talking about? Me and you,
we played real sports, you know? You can see our balls
in our pants when we play. Were you an athlete? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I played professional tennis. I was ranked 864 in the world. Oh, okay. You win– you win
a couple of tournaments? No, I didn’t win the
tournaments, but… (stammers) How much money did you make
in your career? I made $11,000, about. But there’s-there’s
a whole system, and I-I was, you know, right in
there, playing as a pro athlete. Oh, okay. In our era, I think there was no shame
around pursuing a career, uh, in professional sports
because you could get a scholarship to college,
which, by the way, you can get
as an eSport player now. Uh, there’s a number of colleges
that are building eSports arenas
on their campuses. -This is all great,
-Yeah. but let’s get down
to brass tacks here. How much do these ethletes make? Probably the best, top player in
the world in one of our games, he makes probably $800,000. What? And while players like Taco
made over $800K last year, other top gamers
earned upwards of $4 million. And thanks to advertising
and sponsorships, revenues will top $1.4 billion
this year! $1.4 billion?! Are you kidding me?! But what really makes it legit is Vegas sportsbooks
take bets on it. So I did what anyone would do, sold my dog for 3,000 bucks and put it all on Team Liquid
at the Barclays Center. I’ll buy him back after I win. Amsterdam. London.
Cologne. Montreal. I don’t give a shit!
You’re in Brooklyn now, baby! This is the Barclays Center. This is where champions play. And the Brooklyn Nets. We’re gonna heal as a team or we’re gonna die
as individuals. Did I make myself clear? -Yeah. -Yeah.
-Yeah. -Yeah. Come on! All right, ignore all that, and
we just follow the game plan. -Let’s go, guys.
-It was time for Team Liquid to win in the semifinals
and make me some money. -ANNOUNCER: Team Liquid!
-(cheering) Let’s go, baby. Let’s go! It definitely felt
like a real sport. These gaming gladiators
were ready for battle. ANNOUNCER:
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for,
Team Liquid versus Gambit! Click your mouse! They flexed their fingers. They clicked their buttons. They adjusted their headsets. Come on! -Liquid! Taco! Liquid! Taco!
-Taco! Taco! Hey, let’s start the wave,
starting over here! (whoops) (cheering) Watch the stairs. Watch the– -Oh!
-Oh! They fought to outmaneuver,
evade, and shoot
their opponents’ heads off. And just when it looked like
Team Liquid was on the ropes, they rallied. -Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
-(cheering) ANNOUNCER: The next round
finalist is Team Liquid! That’s what I’m talking about! That’s what I’m talking about,
baby! (whoops) Number one! Team Liquid! Are video games a sport? Who cares? I’m rich. Time to try to buy my dog back.