Welcoming esports: the up-and-coming sport on the block


Coco Tsaur

THE GRIND NEVER STOPS: Freshman Newton Tsaur undividedly focuses on the game at hand, looking to scrape out the win, alongside his team.

William Baik and Arya Bhattacharjee

The arena is buzzing with the energy of the fans, the big screen at the center of the stage illuminates, and the players take their seats. This isn’t your conventional sporting event— this is esports, a professional sport based on video games.

The sudden rise in video gaming due to the lockdown has increased interest in esports tournaments, and while some esports scenes have started from scratch, more distinguished tournaments have continued to thrive. Here’s a look at two esports scenes that have caught the attention of not only the gaming community, but have entertained the entire world for the greater part of the quarantine.


Valorant is a tactical first person shooter game by Riot Games that was released in early June. The game puts each player into the shoes of a character, who is then given a weapon, and sent off to complete an objective. The game is a round-based game, which ends early when one team plants a crystal. From there, the opponents’ goal is to diffuse the crystal. Riot’s unique spin on the genre adds in special abilities, making the game require a mix of mechanical skill and strong team communication in order to achieve the highest ranks.

“The game is really well built for a pro scene,” junior Antonio Galisteo said. “It requires you to make smart decisions [and] in the moment thinking, which I think is a key to any modern and fun video game.”

VALORANT has already seen unprecedented growth in the esports market, hosting a total of 18 tournaments since the game’s release. With major streamers from the internet sensation, Fortnite, shifting over to VALORANT, the pro scene’s future looks bright. Professional VALORANT tournaments have seen up to 80,000 viewers with an average around 30,000, indicating that the future of this game’s esports scene is another reason to definitely keep an eye out for this video game.

League of Legends:

League of Legends, one of the oldest and most popular esports scenes in the world, continues to thrive in these trying times. As a game that is more predicated on strategy than skill, the game relies on smart decision making to destroy objectives, the final objective being the Nexus, the core of each team’s base on the Summoner’s Rift, one of the many locations in the game. Its global championships average over 100 million views, topping $1 billion in annual revenue and putting it on par to sports championship games such as the National Football League’s (NFL) Super Bowl. With the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is only expected to climb higher, with more players flocking to the game while locked at home, on the basis of entertainment.

“Esports makes League of Legends even more enjoyable as you can see international teams battling it out on a world stage,” senior Soumil Joshi said. “The rivalries amongst regions add intensity, especially between North America and Europe.”

Esports has blossomed into a mainstream source of entertainment that millions of fans can watch from anywhere in the world, attracting interest from celebrities and large corporations alike, making national headlines. Not to mention, ESPN decided to televise the National Basketball Association (NBA) 2K series’ championship series on its main channel, as a replacement for professional sports. From signing high school basketball prodigy Bronny James to professional gaming team FaZe Clan to the growing number of celebrity investors, praying for this sports genre’s successes, such as Drake, recent developments in the video gaming community have proven that the sky’s the limit for the future of esports in the modern world.