One thing that not many people expect pro athletes to also be gamers. That is the game for the cornerback of the Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman. His favorite game is Call of Duty, a game he has apparently played since 2008.
“I love the competitive aspect of [Call of Duty],” Sherman told ESPN when asked why top traditional sports players enjoy playing Call of Duty and eSports in general. “[In] every match you’re getting to compete online against other players and I think that’s huge for guys who kind of have that in us. It’s kind of ingrained in us.”
Sherman’s first time in person at an eSports even was when he visited LA for the Call of Duty World Championship this September from the 2nd-4th. He has stated that he intends to attend Dota 2’s The International next year, an annual event which has awarded over $20 million in prize money this past August. He has also stated that he excited by how fast the eSports industry has grown into what it is today.
“eSports has grown so rapidly over the last couple years, I think everyone is starting to notice and pay attention,” he says. “These guys are out here competing for $2 million. That’s real money. That’s as real as it gets. I’m looking forward to seeing how that industry grows and maybe, maybe getting more involved.”
When asked about the current and future growth of eSports, Sherman stated that it will continue to grow this way but will get even bigger once Sony’s Playstation begins moving into VR. He claims that VR is “where the esports world is gonna bloom and blow up into an even bigger deal than it is right now.”
“I see eSports growing rapidly. You see young kids — 21, 22, 23 — making millions playing video games and playing it year-round as a profession, so anytime you have that kind of money being slung around, you’re going to have more people putting in time and effort and dedicating themselves to be better at that, to make that their craft and their passion. I’m expecting, that as long as it keeps being as profitable as it is, guys are going to continue to take time out of their lives to play and become masters of the craft,” Sherman stated.
It is very expected to see more athletes getting into the industry in the future, seeing as how Shaquille O’Neal and Rick Fox both have ventures in eSports teams.
“It has to make money to make sense,” he says. “The eSports industry is starting to make a lot more money, so just like everything else, the NFL started as a small corporation with not that much support and it continued to grow into this billion dollar industry that it is. You can see how marketing and innovation can help any sport and any operation grow. I’m going to keep a close eye on eSports and if it works out, then it works out.”