Presented by: ABC News

These pro-players have turned video gaming into lucrative careers, complete with the all-star lifestyle of personal chefs, physical therapists and more.

From playing at home to the arena, inside the billion-dollar eSports industry

- Inside the billion-dollar eSports industry

It hits you like a ton of bricks, the roar of the crowd it's like a pumped-up mix of WrestleMania meets the Super Bowl.
These are the sports stars of the future in all around the world people packing up massive arenas just to watch them play.
Video game, in a billion dollar industry these pros some still in their teens are racking up wins and stacking up cash. I'm talking six figure salary.

Welcome to the world of eSports.

For these five guys gaming is life together they make up Team Liquid.

  • My nickname is TACO. I'm 23. (- Epitácio "TACO" de Melo).
  • My nickname is Naf I'm 20 years old. (- Keith "NAF" Marković).
  • My alias is Twist. I'm 18. (- Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken).
  • My alias in-game is nitr0. I'm 23 years old. (- Nick "nitr0" Cannella).
  • My name is Jonathan Jablonowski, my ingame name is ELIGE. I'm 21 years old. (- Jonathan "ELIGE" Jablonowski).

Elige is on of the top-ranked players in the world.
- I started playing Counter-Strike 1.5 when I was about four years old. My dad didn't really like me playing games that much. He just wanted me to play sports and just do things outside, but I just never had fun doing that stuff.

By the time he was a 17 year old high school senior ELIGE had signed on to his first professional eSports team.

- We are one of the top teams in the world.

And now they're about to take on some of the world's best at a tournament in New York on the line a quarter of a million dollars.
Their bread and butter is a game called Counter-Strike a five-on-five shooter competition.

Success depends on seamless teamwork and strategy. Their coach he's a former pro player himself.

- My name is Wilton Prado also known as zews. I'm 30 years old when people imagine gamers they expect us to be in the basement and when we play in these arenas, it's something kind of out of this world. We get to play in front of 20-25 thousand people depending the arena over millions live watching at the same time.

They jet around the world it all across the U.S.

- I'm from a really small town. It really is an awesome opportunity and I love it.

When they're not on the road most American teams go back to Los Angeles the unofficial home of eSports in the US where their franchises pay for them to live in mansions fit for a king. Today I'm hanging out with the Philadelphia Fusion check out their crib here this place is worth 5 million dollars man and they tell me this is a little bit more typical of how most teams get down where they live and train together inside a gamers paradise a training room pool and a gym.

  • So you guys you got a court outside you got hoops ping-pong and training here you too? Huh?
  • Yeah.

Team Liquid is a little different the players live in their own apartments, but they train here at this brand-new nine thousand square foot state-of-the-art facility.

- So welcome this is the Alienware training facility.

Steve Arhancet is the co-owner of the team.

- If you were to ask Serena Williams, what kind of Racket are you going to end up using? She's gonna be very particular about the type of Racket, right? And for our gamers, they want to be kind of enabled to have the very best.
Each detail has been carefully thought out from a on staff personal chef to a pro-level supporting cast we have mental coaches, we have sports psychologist we have physical therapist so there is an army of folks that are dedicated to making sure that these players up their performance.

The Team Liquid franchise has some serious backing with investors like NBA legend Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

  • - You come a long way from Pennsylvania man. I've been to Pennsylvania it doesn't look anything like Santa Monica what's life like out here?
  • - I mean, it's great. Like every single day is the same temperature and it's sunny every single day and I always have like opportunities to do cool things with the team.

The company employs dozens of players who compete in 14 different games.

  • - If you just had to explain it to a dude on the street what you do for a living, how would you explain this?
  • - I would describe it like we're playing like the NBA or something and you rise up through the ranks of playing like the minor leagues or whatever and you're only focusing on one game because usually when I say professional video game player, they think that I play multiple games, but I'm really just focusing all my time on one.

Elige like several of his teammates actually started college but left school when it became clear his childhood hobby could become his real-life job.

  • - I missed about half my classes going to so many tournaments
  • - Half?
  • - And I still didn't really well even missing like half my classes after that semester I decided I can't do both and I chose gaming.
  • - Can you give me a ballpark figure in terms of what people in this space can make?
  • - I mean if you are a pro player depending on what game you play you can definitely make millions.
  • - A million or two in one year?
  • - Or more yeah
  • - Without a college education.
  • - Yep without a college education.
  • - That's not bad work if you can find it.
  • - Yeah.

Now major universities are trying to get in on the action.
College student Emily Oeser is the captain of her colleges Overwatch team.

- I definitely consider myself an athlete. (- Emily "AbsoluteNaCl" Oeser).

Oeser has become a fearless female gamer in a male-dominated sport.

- Being a woman in eSports is very daunting. You have to really establish yourself gaining the trust of your players is just a tad bit harder.

Originally, she started pursuing a career in music, but that all changed when she found out the school was launching an eSports team.

- Once I entered the game design development and programming major I fell in love instantly.

SUNY Canton is part of a growing number of schools that are investing big money in new facilities in creating academic majors in gaming.

- We need to get them out of the rooms and come and join a team.

Back in the big leagues that tournament at Brooklyn's Barclays Center is under way.

- I like drinking beer and watching people play video games.

Inside this sheer size of this billion-dollar industry is on full display vendors pack the lobby and corridors with team swag and all the latest tech.
For ELIGE, this one is extra special his family is in the stands.

  • - He's living the dream.
  • - He could be pushing shopping carts at like a Walmart or doing this travelling across the world.
  • - It's amazing you guys are proud of your brother?
  • - Absolutely.
  • - Absolutely, I support all.
  • - And so jealous of him.

And his team has made it to the main stage if they win 250 thousand dollars, and of course bragging rights, as Team Liquid enters the arena the crowd is electric.

- As soon as you start hearing the crowd the yelling your name or your team's name it's just adrenaline you know, it's go time, it's focus up.

Then it's game time the tension is high each millisecond counts. Fans anxiously watching some holding their breath it's a close final.
But in the end, it's not enough Team Liquid defeated.

  • - Their the champions mousesports on Broadway (commentator).
  • - I think it was the worst defeat of my career honestly it was really heartbreaking.

Despite the tough loss the guys put on their game face and go out to meet their fans.

- We haven't really had our biggest victory yet, but we are really on the cusp of it and I'm certain there we're going to have it very soon.

And he was right Team Liquid bounced back kicking off 2019 with the new roster and a new Trophy winning the first championship of the year.

- Right now I really hope that I'm going to be staying in eSports for the rest of my life.

For Nightline I'm Zachary Kiesch in New York.

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