Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

First ever Permian Basin eSports tournament

Big Spring ISD hosted the Basin's inaugural eSports tournament.

BIG SPRING, Texas — Controllers, consoles, and competition - the rise of a billion dollar industry.

Now, eSports has made its way to the Permian Basin.

From 2017 to 2018 eSports' investment value rose by 837%, according to business insider.

Big Spring's eSports coach, Amber Griffith, believes its arrival has changed the way people see video games.

"It's a different avenue to show teamwork, effort, and smarts. Anybody can play, but to be competitive, that's a whole different level," Griffith said. "I wanted to expose a lot of our students that haven't done eSports with me. What it's like, how it feels to win, and how it feels to have people cheering you on." 

Morgan Griffith (also known as Morganator), Amber's son and a player on Big Spring's eSports team, is proud of the progress they've made in a short time.

"We just started in September and we're already having a huge tournament so that's a pretty big change for three months," Griffith said.

Some might think it's as easy as setting up consoles, monitors, and letting the kids play but it's more complicated than that.

"Fortnite charges, so if we have a tournament, all we're going to make off of is maybe the concession stand," Griffith said. "Smash Ultimate - they love community tournaments. Rocket League, however, you can charge to get in the door, but you can't charge to play."

It's not all just fun and games though. Just like any other sport, if you're good enough - it can pave the way for a career.

"There's at least five major colleges in Texas that provide scholarships for students for eSports," Griffith said. "In the league that we're in, every time we play, they're up for another thousand dollar scholarship."

Whether it's categorized as a sport or not is a matter of perspective.

"Some people think it's a joke because it's video games but you can say that about people who play basketball for fun," Griffith said. "It's a sport, so it just depends on how you take it."

As a parent, teacher, and coach, Amber recommends such a passionate environment.

"You end of cheering, you end up rooting, you want them to win," Griffith said. "It's as much of a sport type event than anything else."

From sold out arenas to professional franchises, eSports is just getting started - so play on, players.