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Fans mob Madison Square Garden for video game championships

Fans filled New York's Madison Square Garden for the League of Legends North American Championship
Video gaming championship attracts sold-out crowd 01:30

New York's Madison Square Garden is famous for its concerts and sporting events, but this weekend it was packed with fans for a whole different kind of attraction: a video game competition.

The League of Legends North American Championship sold out within minutes. The event was a mixture of pro-wrestling spectacle and Comic Con cosplay: fog machines and high-velocity rock music, dramatic announcers and campy player nicknames. Fans dressed up as their favorite characters.

But this is eSports; the 10 competitors on stage were lined up in front of screens, pushing buttons. The actual battle was fought between two teams of top-level gamers, moving through the terrains of the elaborate "multiplayer online battle arena" or MOBA.

Pro video game competitions are a big business. The audience and corporate sponsorships, like Coca-Cola, rival major professional sports leagues. There are even scholarships for top-level players.

"The top pro earners are making close to a million dollars," Dustin Beck of Riot Games told CBS News. He said last year's League of Legends championship had almost double the average audience as the World Series -- 27 million viewers via YouTube and Amazon-owned TwitchTV, which streams video game play.

Professional gamers are celebrities in the video game world. They practice for hours a day to be in top competitive form.

Yiliang Peng, known by his screen name "Doublelift," is one of the most well-known players from Counter Logic Gaming. The 22-year-old told CBS News he practices from "10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day."

In the end, Counter Logic Gaming beat Team SoloMid to win the League of Legends North American title. They'll head to the World Championships in Berlin this October.

Though League of Legends is one of the most popular eSports games, more than a dozen other video games are played on the professional level, promising more growth for live video game competitions.

Costumed fans attended the League of Legends North American Championship in New York's Madison Square Garden. CBS News
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