Headline, February 10 2021/ ''' '' COMPUTER GAMES COMPASS '' ''' : STUDENTS

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INTEREST IN E-SPORTS LEAGUES SURGED among global and U.S. audiences in recent years.

In 2015 - 38.2 million people in North America watched at least one esport event, according to Newzoo, a game analytics firm. By 2020 the number had jumped to 57.2 million.

League of Legends, a team-based title released by Riot in 2009, dwarfs its competitors in viewership. Nearly 46 million people watched at least part of the world championship event in October.

AMERICA IS ACCUSTOMED TO DOMINANCE in global sports - but in League of Legends - the highest-profile video game played by professionals - American teams lag far behind their counterparts in Asia - where esports are a way of life.

In countries like China and South Korea, players start competing as children, and professionals train up to 18 hours a day. To keep up, American teams have dangled increasingly large salaries in front of these superstars.

In much the way Major League Soccer lures famous European players stateside. Aided by an influx of cash and big-name sponsors, these teams have recruited at least 40 players from Asia since 2016 -according to a New York Times analyst, and a similar number from Europe.

Many professional players are simply looking for a big paycheck, fueling the perception that the United States serves as a retirement community for players who are past their prime.

Others are drawn to a comfortable lifestyle in places like Los Angeles. And some claim to be the players who will finally put America on the map by winning the first world championship for the continent.

''They can be a hero for an entire region,'' said Chris Greeley, the Commissioner of League of Legends' North American region, called the League Championship Series. ''They can be onstage and lift that trophy and deliver that to a region that superhungry for it.''

Mr. Hu, who signed a record- breaking two year, $6 million contract with TSM, a U.S. team, said a sense of adventure had drawn him to the United States.

''I am not a person who wants to feel very comfortable every day -I want to challenge myself,'' Mr. Hu, 24, said.

Just like traditional sports, professional leagues devoted to video games like League of Legends, Overwatch and Call of Duty features teams vying for coveted championship trophies, rabid fans shelling out money for jerseys and multimillionaire players searching for glory.

Competitions are strategic, five-on five cage matches, in which players match wits and mouse-clicking speeds as they guide their avatars through a colourful jungle, slaying fantastical monsters and rushing to destroy the opponents base. International competition began in 2011 and are operated by Riot Games , which are owned by the Chinese Internet giant Tencent.

Despite League of Legends' growth in the United States, North American teams are still routinely outclassed by their competitors in Asia, where ubiquitous Internet cafes in many countries make playing computer games cheap and easy.

Nine of the 10 annual world championships have been won by a Chinese, South Korean or Taiwanese team.

Many of the League Championship Series' 10 teams are backed by billionaires who also own traditional U.S. sports teams. But the sport has not yet become a cash cow. To get in on League of Legends, teams had to pay Riot $10 million to $13 million.

Riot declined to say how much it made from League of Legends, and analysts do not think it is profiting directly from e-sports. But SuperData, a research company, estimated that the game itself brought in more than $1.8 billion in revenue last year.

''It's just really fitting that North American e-sport is this melting pot of global cultures,'' Ms. Doi said. ''I think that's what's eventually going to make North America a strong contender.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on League of Legends, Video Games and the world, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Kellen Browning.

With respectful dedication to the 'League of Legends', Game Organizers, Game Makers, Students, Professors, and Teachers of the World.

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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