Arena sport for competing gamers gives new life to TV landmark

A space for video gamers in Burbank is allowing professional teams to compete against each other in an arena type setting.

The League behind it is drawing in big crowds, and bringing in millions of dollars

Teams from all over the country, with players in their teens and 20s face off in the game Overwatch.
Every flick of the wrist, or move over a wrong pixel could cost them a championship and all that money.

"Millions of people play this game and they want to see who the best in the world is," said Nate Nanzer, Commissioner of the Overwatch League.

Overwatch League's commissioner says opening week a few months ago, 10 million people watched online.

The players compete at a former Burbank television studio, which used to be known for something quite different.

Stage one was once the onetime home of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and then Jay Leno.

It was dismantled and re-imagined as something entirely new, a video game arena where teams now compete.

"If Lebron James actually streamed his warm ups and actually talked to the fans through how he executes the shots he makes, that's what these guys do when they stream on switch and make content on YouTube," said Nanzer.

For some players how they practice and play is deeply personal,.

Many were told "stop playing video games."

She would actually take away the internet before she left for work, so when I came home from school I wouldn't be able to play," said Overwatch League Player Stefano "Verbo" Disalvo.
But one by one, parents started caving when they saw the sometimes 6 figure salaries their kids began making.

That's right--it's a video game career for many of them.

When she got it she saw the money I was making, and she saw the hours I was putting in and she saw the staff saying I was going to move up to California, you can tell it's legit," said Disalvo.
Others who had to convince their family to play are now supporting them.

Since I was young, I always had to make a lot of sacrifices to make sure my family had a roof to sleep on and food on the table," said Overwatch League Player David "Nomy" Ramirez.

David Ramirez is the only Overwatch player from Mexico.

He is a player whose job is to protect other players all day long.

You could say he does the same for his family.

"My bank account is their bank account in a way - they have access to it - they don't have to worry about that at all," said Ramirez.

All of it is a testament to the growing popularity of gaming, a multi- billion dollar industry.
Once something for home consoles and arcades, is now an arena sport giving new life to a TV landmark.

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