As colleges embrace e-sports, there are thorny questions about who, if anyone, profits – Los Angeles Times

Duran Parsi headed to Pepperdine’s law school three years ago with a mission: By the end, he’d either practice law or commit to his fledgling e-sports business.

With graduation near, Parsi might need to grant himself an extension. Collegiate Star League, the 30-person e-sports operation run from his Studio City apartment, has essentially become the NCAA for video games.

The company organized tournaments that 30,000 college students in the U.S. and Canada participated in this school year. Sponsorship sales tripled from last school year, and enough cash remained for Parsi, 29, to live off his business instead of student loans.

But amateur e-sports trails the professional level in fervor. Parsi doesn’t know whether the college sports matches he organizes will rival the profits and appeal of college basketball and football or grow into niche money-suckers such as rugby and field hockey. The company that makes the leading game “League of Legends” expects to land in between, matching the small, but loud fandoms of college baseball.

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