Watching other people play computer games—or eSports—is big business. More than 71 million people worldwide watched eSports last year, half in the United States, according to SuperData. And one in five American gamers either watches or participates in eSports. As more people watch, the rewards are getting bigger too. Some $25 million in prize money was given away in competitive gaming championships in 2013. League of Legends alone was worth over $2 million in prize money. Even the US government recognizes eSports as a legitimate sporting activity—at least at its borders. Last year, it agreed to grant professional athlete visas to people traveling to the US to play video games.
According to Quartz, 71 million people watched other people play video games last year, and many of them paid good money to do it at a live event.