Headsets, screens and a man making millions

Currently, it’s 1pm; however, it could be any given hour of the day or night. I find myself inside the Resorts World Arena, located adjacent to Birmingham airport. The setting is dark with the only source of illumination being periodic spotlights and the massive screens hanging above the arena floor.

Beneath these screens are ten young men divided into two teams of five. They are engrossed in their PC screens, each adorned with a headset. Other than their hands busily clicking, scrolling, and frantically moving their computer mice, they are practically motionless.

The explosive sound from the crowd of around 15,000 spectators is overwhelming whenever a character is blown up. Presently, the ESL One Birmingham esports tournament is in full swing (the tagline reads: “It’s time to brawl”) with eight teams actively participating in a video game named

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