Martin Roháček: Playing caught me and it didn’t let me go. Today, sports tournaments attract millions of spectators

Wear a sweatshirt with the logo of your favorite team and you can go. A big tournament awaits him in Germany. It is a world-class event with fifteen thousand spectators. Hundreds of thousands more will watch it online, but Martin Roháček wants to be there and cheer live. He is thirty-two years old and steamed his first computer game when he was four. He was one of the few people in the village where he came from as a child who had a computer. The games then played on the sand two-eight-six. From today’s point of view, it’s a shard, but games like Golden Ax could be run on it just fine. “It caught me and it didn’t let me go,” says Martin, who over time began to watch the pros play.

It was around 2004, the year before the YouTube channel was created. To improve his playing in Warcraft 3, he downloaded files from the world’s leading players to his computer, which then opened directly in the game itself. Thanks to that, he saw how they think, what they do and how they behave in the virtual world. Although he studied political science at Charles University, he eventually returned to the game world. He currently works for the Czech Sports Association.

As he says, he no longer has to convince anyone of the meaning of professional gaming. Sports tournaments attract hundreds of thousands of spectators and millions more are watched online. The HearthStone computer card tournament is overtaking the Super Bowl, and Dota 2 tournament players share up to $ 40 million in prize money. According to the current exchange rate, in the case of a single tournament, one can talk about a billion-dollar business. Few sports handle such means with a traditional label.

The sports have everything we are used to from broadcasts of big football competitions, such as packed stadiums, commentators in suits and analysts with opinions on what one or the other should have done differently. Martin points out that there is no difference between fans watching an Arsenal match, a Wimbledon tournament, a camera view inside a WRC race car, or a Counter Strike tournament from the biggest fighters tournament. In all cases, it is a desire to see how world-class people can cope with some technically demanding discipline.

Martin’s biggest protagonist is Dota 2, nicknamed NoTail, who has earned $ 6.7 million in tournament careers. Just as hockey fans remember the golden Olympic Nagano, Martin worships the moment when his favorite team, OG, won the most prestigious 2018 World Championship in Dota 2. victory, ”says Martin, who is driving an alarm clock to watch tournaments in America or Asia online due to a time lag.

He had already come to terms with the fact that he would never reach the skills of his idols again. “But that doesn’t mean I’m slowing down. Just as someone goes to watch football after work, I like to release the dot and dive into my world, ”he says.

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