GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. –
BJ Long’s love of video games goes back quite a ways. He used to sit on his dad’s lap while he played the 1993 version of Doom. And after an injury set his athletic career back in high school, he picked up a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and practiced to get better than his friends. During his freshman year at CMU he and a friend started the Mavericks e-Sports Team.
The program started off with eight people, and has since grown to 64 players and the university now has a dedicated e-sports room filled with 30 gaming PCs.
But e-Sports isn’t just getting bigger at CMU. Across the globe major professional teams are earning more than $30,000,000 in prize money. Major TV networks are now carrying e-sporting events regularly. Events like the NBA Players Only 2k Tournament, the Coca-Cola iRacing league, F1 is broadcasting virtual races featuring many of the federation’s drivers, even major-leaguers are picking up the sticks to stream themselves playing MLB The Show. Long is not surprised by e-gaming’s popularity these days. “In 2014 is e-sports a real sport: question mark. 2020 e-sports is the only sport: period.”
Now a senior, BJ will be leaving the program, but says he’s proud of what e-Sports has become on campus. “It’s been surreal, it’s been fantastic, it’s been something that even in my wildest dream I didn’t think it would come into fruition the way it did. “