There is actually a professional video-game circuit. The intent of this case is not to promote video game playing or to encourage kids to become professional video game players. I know that most kids play video games and can relate to this business case.
If you are like Jonathan Wedel and practice several hours a day, there are professional (paid to play) opportunities and there is a growing number of people turning to professional video-game playing.
In addition to the player opportunities there is an interesting business opportunity evolving. The business related point is that this is a growing business. It is growing in the number of people interested in watching it, business sponsors interested in associating with it and a growing number of players. This a business you may want to watch and learn from.
Cyberathlete Professional League ,CPL, founded by Angel Munoz, is a Dallas based company that runs a pro-gamer tour. In 2002, the CPL had eight scheduled tournaments of four continents, and in 2003 plans to hold one each month.
When CPL first hosted an event, they had 300 people show up. Their events now attract 2,000 people with plans to rent bigger venues to hold 5,000 people. The spectators pay to watch video game competitions on a large screen and companies pay to sponsor the events.
CPL appeals to the “elite” video-game players: males in their 20s and 30s who forgo consoles such as the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and instead spend thousands of dollars tweaking their personal computers.
CPL has now attracted a number of computer firms as sponsors who pay to have their name associated with the events.
The next step in their strategy is to get TV interested in them. They would like sporting news coverage and actual coverage of the video-game events.
It will be interesting to watch this business opportunity evolve over time.