Esports: A Booming Billion Dollar Industry – Beyond the Scenes | The Daily Show

By | January 24, 2023

Esports competitions have seen a boom in popularity in recent years with some of the highest paid players making up to six figures. Celebrities like Drake and Post Malone have even invested in the sport. Host Roy Wood Jr. sits down with Daily Show correspondent, Michael Kosta, and LA Thieves Call of Duty player, Sam “Octane” Larew, to break down the similarities and differences between traditional and electronic sports and how professional gaming is making its way into the mainstream.

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For over twenty-five years, the groundbreaking, Emmy and Peabody award-winning The Daily Show has entertained audiences each night with hilarious, provocative and insightful satire about our society that helps make sense of the world. The Daily Show redefined the late night show category on TV and, with an audience of over 44M across social media platforms, has become a launching pad for some of the biggest stars in entertainment.

This next chapter of this iconic franchise showcases its diverse news team of correspondents and contributors, including Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, Roy Wood Jr., Lewis Black and Jordan Klepper, comedy greats as guests hosts, and interviews with influential and emerging voices from across society.

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Welcome to beyond the scenes The Daily Show podcast that goes a little deeper Into segments and topics that originally Aired on the show like look this I gotta Think about this podcast if the Daily Show is a salad then we're the toppings That make you want to eat that salad to Croutons the grilled chicken the Caesar Salad dressing or French or balsamic Vinaigrette or whatever the hell you Prefer we all know that honey Mustard's The champ we got it for you we're diving Into the world of Esports today based on A segment from Daily Show correspondent Michael Costa this segment took a deeper Dive into the growing professional Gaming industry roll my clip competitive Video gaming known as Esports is booming There's even a training center with five Training rooms and six locker rooms the Olympics are considering adding Esports I went to California to a so-called Training center in someone's garage to Talk with these athletes about why video Games isn't a sport What the hell is this this was the Alienware training facility for Esports Team Liquid complete with scrimmage Stations a war room PR department a team Coach and even an in-house Chef the team Star whose name is Taco was acquired From Brazil's top team this is a real Sport you call yourself an athlete yes Of course they compete we go to

Tournaments we travel a lot we got some Money what is an esport athlete Mr Taco Do every day just practice Yeah I have a former professional tennis Player that's what I would call like a Real sport there was an opponent and you Would relish the opportunity to defeat Them with your racket what do you Actually have to show for what you're Doing and come on I have a really strong Finger A finger yes this finger our kids at Least one million people that fingers Killed one million people at least to Help break this down a little bit more For us I'm joined by my fellow Daily Show correspondent and michigander Michigan There was right trust your instincts you Had okay yeah michigander gray and I'm Going to learn from you what you learned About making this segment Costa how you Doing I'm good man thanks for having me And it feels odd to even be called in on This piece because I was such a skeptic Going in and uh now like how Professional so you got any sport I mean I never you know I grew up with sports Not what's this e why is there why is There a vowel in front of it now so but I was really impressed and turned the Corner so to speak but obviously your Other guests can really talk about Esports yeah and that other guess is a

Call of Duty player for the LA thieves Sam octane LaRue Sam how you doing What's going on guys I'm glad that we uh I'm glad we converged you Michael I like That that's that's good I know you were A skeptic before him but see that's just It's good one at a time I like that yeah I was a reluctant convert yeah you Didn't even want to in the first place Okay yeah I was reluctant and you won me Over so That's that's a testament to how fun This can be I like that are you a video Game guy at all or or not not at all Nothing ever since the controller had More than the A and B button oh Lord are You serious about even a Sega Genesis I Mean Roy I remember walking into you and Ronnie's office and you guys would be Playing whatever and I was just like This looks cool but I am so intimidated Oh yeah running out on a slow week where They didn't need us oh yeah oh okay I Just got everything set up like to see Where we're starting here well and I Don't want to jump ahead but when I said About the piece And I guess this is how I got converted I like watching anybody try to compete And perform under pressure and once you Realize that Esports that's all that's What it is that's fun that's fun for me That's how I am about most things if I Know someone's going to be disappointed

And crying at the end of the Confrontation that's usually my cup of Tea I can even Watch Chopped kids Sam Let's start with that e in front of Esports you know describe that world to Us and tell us how long you've been a Professional gamer oh man we're Summarizing Esports okay uh competitive Video gaming is something that is well Used to be extremely taboo I'm happy you Know Michael is perfect example here That it's a little bit more mainstream Than it used to be for sure um but like I said it was it was taboo years ago and Um the older generation of just most People in general whenever you say that You play video games for a living or you Know whenever I get into an Uber and They're asking where I'm going what I'm Doing and I tell them the the usual Reaction is oh my my kid plays video Games or oh how do you do that and it's A very um Misunderstood topic I could say so I'm Happy to see the progression that it's Made over the last couple of years Because video games has uh we at least Used to have a pretty rough stigma Around it you know people being lazy it Wasn't a productive thing to do with Your time and then you're blind it ruins Your television exactly uh you couldn't You couldn't make a living off of it it Was just a huge time sink and I'm happy

That Um the the outlook on on Esports and Video games in general like I said has Changed over the last couple of years But it's just competing at the highest Level and whatever chosen video game you Would like mine happens to be Call of Duty but there's countless out there the Way I've tried to explain it to people Is that it's really not that different Than going to a video game arcade back In the day and you and five or six Different guys would all try to get the High score on whatever the hell Pac-Man Galaga whatever you're just doing that Online the only scope of knowledge that I had of Esports growing up was Madden Like you know you know I went to college At a place where people would play Madden for money in the dorm in the you Know in the TV room or whatever and then Eventually at some point ESPN had like a Madden Lee they used to come on at like Four in the afternoons on ESPN five or Some [ __ ] and I was like oh yeah that Makes sense because I've seen people do That here but then once it got into like The bigger world of like all of these Role-playing games and the first person Shooters I'm like well how where is the Money Coming from with that like how does the Money Flow from that because this is being

Broadcast on Twitch and the internet and I'm assuming it's no different than a Broadcast network where you turn you Advertise to all of the eyeballs right Exactly it's very uh it's very similar To traditional Esports in at least my Neck of the woods I play in a franchise League so similar to an NFL or an MLB It's a city-based franchise League I Obviously play for the Los Angeles team So uh there are ways to compare it to Traditional Esports to help people kind Of figure out how to navigate the waters But it's definitely a little tricky Because like you said people don't know Where the money's coming from and you Hear these absurd figures like um There's a game called DOTA and they're Like basically their Super Bowl uh it Was a 40 million dollar tournament so People are very reluctant and very Confused when they hear the numbers Being thrown around like I said it's Because it was so taboo years ago the Transition of like trying to understand The landscape is a little bit uh Challenging for people at times for sure It's a little at 40 million dollars is a Little different than uh mad in your Dorm for sure I don't know they was fighting in them Dorms see competition is probably about The same yeah they how do you how do you Get into this because this is one of

Them careers that now like do you feel Like Costa like at this point like ah Why did the teacher tell me about this [ __ ] when I was in the third grade I had It stuck with that Sega Genesis how do You get into this world like how do you Even make a team like are you so good at Call of Duty as an individual that you Get a call is it like the Matrix does Someone knock at your door and say Follow the White Rabbit like how do you Get pulled deeper and deeper into this World and then see it as a viable career Path so I think I I I'm very confident I Could say that like 95 of people start Out as a casual video game player Because they're doing it whether it be For fun or it's just a game that they Enjoy in general I I think they're a Very uh very few cases where people Actually just start playing and want to Play competitively immediately Um in my case I just love playing Call Of Duty loves playing video games my Entire life I've been playing since I Could hold a controller essentially Um and I kind of tripped and fell into a Career to be honest with you I was Playing recreationally like I said Um and I had met some friends online That introduced me to the world of Competitive Call of Duty I didn't even Know it existed when I was playing I was Kind of just in my own little bubble uh

Wasting time essentially uh in high School and my friend at the time like I Said that I met online Um he wanted to travel to this event and It was so strange to me and you know I Was like 16 and um I didn't even know if I was good but you know when I'm 16 Years old traveling across the country To play at a video game Adventure sounds Like a great idea so naturally I did it I begged my parents and I don't know why They let me do it but they did so shout Out to them Um and I kind of just tripped and fell In love with it it was uh it was Completely accidental and I think that's Um honestly the best case scenario Because it's you know my my livelihood Today Roy and the piece I interviewed Rick Fox former Lakers Champion Echo Fox The hell is he doing there well exactly So this is I I'm sure I mean no Disrespect to Rick Fox I wanted to beat My ass Well and I remember when we were Pre-producing the piece I think one of My questions was can we get excuse me Sam I'm just going to speak frankly I Said can we get a real athlete that Maybe has got into Esports because I Don't want to sit with an eth lead I Want to sit with someone that like Adults do that again whatever whatever The tournament oh [ __ ] but man there was

Something really powerful about a guy Wearing his Lakers World Championship Ring it's easier it's easier to connect With it's easy it's easier for me to Connect with for sure exactly what are You doing with these nerds man you're a Real athlete and so are they what the [ __ ] are you talking about me and you we Played Real Sports you know you could See our balls in our pants when we Played in our era I think there was no Shame around pursuing a career uh in Professional sports because you could Get a scholarship to college which by The way you can get as an esport player Now there's a number of colleges that Are building Esports Arenas on their Campuses this is all great but let's get Down to brass tacks here how much do These athletes make probably the best Top laner in the world in one of our Games he makes probably eight hundred Thousand What and he talked about how I think he has a son or maybe he was Talking about one of his players I don't Know but Their parents were like stop playing Video games you know go outside go Outside and play and then one of his Athletes had just signed like a three Million dollar contract and it is very Funny because my mom I mean we played Super Mario we played you know my mom

Would get outside I'll you know I'll Give you an hour of video game time if You go outside yes you know and it's Really like yeah my mom you really blew My financial opportunities and I blame My mom to this day your mom's the reason You're not a professionally sports Player huh right okay so the Costa it's Staying in that lane what were some of The other like similarities and Differences between like traditional Sports and Esports are they getting time Out so they're getting water breaks Between every round like do you have a Corner man get him right on the gloves Yeah we went to team liquids training Facility in Santa Monica And when I walked in okay quickly about Me I played minor league professional Tennis dedicated much of my life to Tennis never got to the highest level in Tennis that I wanted to but I walked Into team liquid's training facility and I said this is a tennis academy I mean There was a chef who cooked us lunch There was a training facility there was A breakdown room where you would where You'd break down video watch footage Watch footage they had mental Coaches maybe the wrong word on staff They had lots and lots of people whose Job it was to facilitate and make sure The athletes were ready to compete and As soon as I walked in the door I just

Had this feeling of like oh [ __ ] I gotta Go put my tennis shoes on and go Practice it just felt like that so there Was a lot of similarities So Sam in that world I would assume that Diet and sleep help your mental acuity Which makes you quicker and more and More analytical Um what is the typical training day like I like I'm not going to say you don't Need to be physically fit I feel like You do it really helps I I've been on Both sides of the spectrum of physically Fit and not physically fit while Competing it definitely helps how does That tax your body so it's it's much More mental it don't get me wrong with Your word I'm not going to sit here and Pretend that we go through the physical Strain Naturally I would love to do a Side-by-side cholesterol or blood Pressure test of an ethylate versus a we Could run a 40 right now and we'll see How it goes nope but still sitting in a Chair like because I've noticed them Gaming costume you ever said one of them Gaming chairs outrageous they are kind Of ugly but so comfortable they're not Comfortable Um I actually prefer the officer anyway Uh so like I said it's all it's it's Essentially all mental um obviously Being in better physical shape is just

Better for your life in general that Impacts all aspects of your life not Just you know video games um but to Michael's Point how he mentioned the Infrastructure behind it's team liquids Uh facilities and all that that's that's Pretty much the the standard throughout The majority of uh tier one Esports That's when you talk about League of Legends or Dota or Counter-Strike Call Of Duty Um all these things that is the the Standard we have a chef as well we have Mental performance coaches we have all These things and I think that that's Another thing that people really uh can Gravitate towards and understand because When you know you watch these videos of Like behind the scenes of I don't know The Chargers uh facilities you'll you'll See like their locker room you'll see Where they watch their uh their game Film or VOD for for us Um you'll see where the chef prepares Their meals it's a it's a one-to-one Comparison so I think that that's Another thing that can help bring people Uh towards Esports in an easier light And said to your point Royal uh it's It's all mental it's it's 95 to 5 I Would say in terms of of mental and um That's arguably worse because you can Become Your Own Worst Enemy pretty Quickly because uh it's it's very

Performance Based and obviously you know Traditional sports are as well but you Can get hurt and you can go out for the Season and that's not really I mean it's Not your fault that's just an Unfortunate circumstance whereas in Esports it's entirely on your Performance and there's really a bar Like an extreme circumstance there's no Excuse It's you either played well or You played poorly and there's it's not Like the defense sucked but I did my job It's not like it's not like I threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns but my Defense led up you know 40 points it's Like I went out and I either helped my Team win or I help my team lose so there Are very strong uh mental health for Sure are you guys drug tested this is Not a joke I mean if it's that mentally Straining yeah there's all types of Legal and illegal focused drugs and I Know there's stories in the end NFL of There being bags of Greenies that guys Pop in there you know before halftime That keeps them focused keeps them Energized amphetamines so we are for Real is that yeah tell me please talk to Me we are drug testing okay um that was Something that came with the uh the CDL When we started franchising a couple Years ago uh before that it was kind of The Wild Wild West and you could do what You want and it was like a tough it was

Just there wasn't enough money for it Because drug testing I don't even know This it's extremely expensive to do so Uh once the CDL hit and there was a Large influx of money you know millions And millions of dollars uh the leagues Drug policy and just the franchising in General really cracked down Um and now there's it has for everything Under the sun and when you say CDO we're Talking about the Call of Duty League Okay now what are y'all drug tested for What are the prohibited substances Everything so no weed I mean the big One's cocaine heroin I'm sure crack is Roundup none of that Um you could have a legal prescription For Adderall yeah so there's things Called tiwis uh I think it's therapeutic Use exemption is the acronym um and There are people in the league I have Friends of mine that can that vouch for This as well when you have ADHD it is Very hard to actually just function as a Person without uh you know Adderall or Whatever you're on because you need to Come back to zero it's it's not or come Back to 100 whatever it may be it's not Like you're taking it to be better it's Taking it to be like a neutral Um so there are cases like that which I Like I said I have very close friends That are like that as well Um so there are times you have to go to

A doctor you have to go through the Process to be like look are you trying To do this because you need it or are You trying to do this to get a Competitive Edge so the CDL does a Phenomenal job on making sure that that Line is correct and there's no one Pushing the boundary now to that point After the break I want to talk exactly About that a little deeper because I Want to talk about the mental health Implications of Which is what you've already kind of Alluded to putting pressure on yourself And knowing it's your fault that you Sucked David and how do you unpack that And if you need to address that Pharmaceutically what does the league do To help and just I just want to talk About the mental health implications of What your job because it seems stressful In any job that's stressful there is Definitely appeal that could help you With it and I want to talk about that a Little bit more after the break let's be On the scenes we'll be right back Sam you know we left talking about your Practice schedule and everything that Goes into preparing first off like in Hours how long are you doing this like If football yeah if football is like Nine to six with two a days and a break In the afternoon for massage you want a Full schedule breakdown no not a full

Schedule breakdown but just from sun up To sundown how long are you holding a Video game controller uh between 10 to 13 hours 14 hours [ __ ] you crazy a day Yeah How many days a week do you get Friday Saturday off like six six days at 13. Is that and that's that's a me thing That's not a that's not the standard There are there's plus and minus Obviously um but if you want to win you Got to put the hours in because if You're not gonna do it then someone else Will so I've been around the block I've Been playing for you know eight years at This point nine years uh so I understand What it takes to win and I've won a lot So it's uh it's a lot of a lot of trial And error throughout my career to to Find the spot where I know that I'm Putting in the work required to win and Right now it's about that time are you Playing Call of Duty or are you working On a specific exercise to improve a Specific part of your game Um so You guys asked me if it's controller Held the entire time and it's not it's Probably it's probably like eight hours Of playing and then the rest is either VOD review on the day I'm talking with Coaches or my team to figure out you Know plans or strategies scrims or Talking in general about practice and

Improvement Um whether that be game planning for Matches that are upcoming or if we're Traveling talking about our schedule and Bracket and all that kind of stuff so Um yeah I mean for the actual the Schedule throughout the day we practice From 11 A.M to give or take 6 p.m um Those are two scrim blocks per day with A break in the middle what's a scrim Block scrimmage scrimmages yes okay I Guess other teams um she had two of Those a day uh with a break in the Middle obviously for you know lunch and We'll talk about the game plan if we're We're doing things properly if we're Addressing the issues that we want to Talk about for that day Um and then afterwards when you get home I'll usually stream on Twitch and then That's kind of the the extra time you Know I'll stream for four to five hours Per night and I'm also playing Cod During that time as well so it's the the Overtime Essentially that kind of pushes those Hours really do you ever have fun do you Ever just go today no it's really fun It's you know the it's a cliche but if You like your job you know you're not Going to work a day okay because you was In work voice just now that was a work Well you know you got to train and then You study the other team's strategies

And you figure it out yeah it's uh I Mean it's video games man it at the end Of the day it is my job and it is how I Make a living but it is video games at The same time so I I have a ton of fun Doing it it's competing obviously Competition is great if you're losing All the time competition is probably not That great uh but yeah I mean it's it's Video games man it cannot be fun this This is where I appreciate traditional Sports and that you cannot play that Many hours You know you even in Tennessee even at Our even at our most high training of Two a days in college where it was two And a half in the morning two in the Afternoon I mean the last the second Half of that second workout is basically Just feel horrible well it's just it's It's counterproductive you're just you Know you're out of yeah you're out of You're out of energy so chalk one up for The traditional sport that I didn't have To play tennis 12 hours a day and then Go home and switch my serve so you know What I mean man that's where the Boundary of the physical and the mental Comes in for sure because it's mental Burnout whereas in physical or Traditional Sports obviously physical Burnout okay so then let's talk about The mental burnout of that have you ever Been impacted by that like have you ever

Felt that level of just I'm spent yes Definitely have uh so when I was young I Went pro at 18 years old but I was Playing obviously long before then I was Just excited to to be playing the game I Mental health wasn't something that I Was really focused on because I never Had impacted me essentially and up until I would say like two years ago was the First time where I had really noticed The decline and I didn't really take the Proper steps beforehand and I didn't Have like the warning signs of myself to Have the the self-awareness to stop that From happening so I was on a different Team a couple of years ago going through A pretty rough stint in terms of like Placings and just team performance Overall and uh it got pretty dark I was Contemplating like retirement Um I didn't know where my career was Going to take me I didn't know if I was Even capable of playing anymore Um so that's the self-doubt had Definitely crept in and like I said Since I didn't really have any prior Experience with dealing with mental Health issues it kind of all hit me like A truck uh and it was it was definitely Something that I had to navigate being An adult and trying to figure out how to Just get out of that headspace that's Where Michael when you mentioned the Team liquid thing like the mental

Performance coaches come in we had one That was phenomenal with 100 thieves or La thieves or Um So the team understands that and they've Made space for that within their Facilities for you all to have that the Same as the chef the same as the Masseuse so we have um and that's new Like that's you know my college you know That's new and one thing and Sam please Talk more about this It's always hard as an athlete to know Am I mentally ill Or do I just keep losing and losing Sucks you know what I mean like like I It hurts to lose it you take it Personally you work so hard and you're Losing it's like a slump Is different than like I'm depressed Yeah but there are some crossovers so How did you definitely this I mean it's Nuts it's uh I think the only way to Really differentiate between the two is How much work that you're putting in I Mean if you are doing the bare minimum You're sliding by and you're losing then You can really still provide to be like Look I'm not doing what I could be doing Right now someone should have my job That isn't me Um whereas on the the opposite of the Spectrum if you're putting in 10 to 12 Hours a day if you're watching Vada if

You're doing everything you possibly can To get better and you're still losing You need to have the the mental acuity To be like look I'm doing everything I Can I'm putting 110 into what I'm doing Right now Um so that that's a thing that you can Take away maybe your team isn't great Maybe then you can look outside and not Pass blame but you can understand it you Are doing whatever you possibly can in That situation um and that was something I had to learn because when I was doing Poorly Um I really didn't understand that so I Wasn't doing everything that I could Have been doing at the time and once I Started I started to feel a lot better Because it's like look even if the Results aren't there I know that I'm Putting my best foot forward so there's Definitely crossover like you mentioned It's just having to navigate that Crossover is very very hard to do yep Can you go on injured reserve for my Mind ain't right like how does it when You're talking about this is a Team-based sport and you can be replaced By somebody I don't know how your JV Squad or your minor league or how you Get called up from the G League goes in That in that world but if somebody Replaces you and they do better than you You ain't getting your job back so that

Is very true what is the pressure of Choosing to endure Mental health struggles instead of just Literally taking a break and unplugging From everything so up until a couple of Years ago it was very taboo to do that That's I mean mental health in general Wasn't really looked upon until a couple Of years ago as a serious topic and Call Of Duty held that that same sentiment Um would there have been cases where People have said look I I'm burnt I Can't do this right now Um I'm not in the headspace to compete I Am just a burden of my team essentially That has happened over the last couple Of seasons in multiple different cases And to answer your question there are Substitutes on rosters that will step in For that player whether it be like hey I Just need a week I need x amount of time Doesn't matter Um and again to your point if they start Performing very well it it feels pretty Rough but nine times out of ten the Player will either be traded the next Season if that is something that ends up Happening or the players come back out Right and be like look I feel a lot Better I'm in a much better mental state Than I was Prior But yeah mental so it's like Quarterbacks in football basically if You lose your job to the backup you

Still have words exactly in the league You're you're going to have name value You're going to be like look this guy Was playing extremely well prior to his Break and maybe his break made him feel 10 times better Um so you still have named value when When that case happens that also has Happened to your point where the the Substitute will step in and perform well Um that's kind of how new uh new players Enter the league in general Um but but this is pro sports I mean The stakes are high and there's real Money it's so it's not like a Participation trophy for everyone so It's like You know I mean it sucks it sucks but if Someone steps in and does better than You you gotta really think you're gonna Pop off yeah yeah sure I see one of Sam's mental health uh strategies just Ran into the room that's right Because everybody who competes or Performs at a high level needs something That loves it unconditional that's right Trying to get those likes look I can Bomb all day I can bomb all day at a Comedy club but as soon as I come home This little idiot licks me and tells me I'm funny that's all I need oh here the Door open here the door open but yes to Your point it definitely helps have you Ever fired a real gun

Uh no I have not which is strange Because I am from somewhere that uh Loves hunting in in the Dirty South so Yeah no I'm not Sam Across all leagues now you play at an Optimum level in your craft at some of The lower level leagues Um have you seen an increase in the Level of support that Esports leagues Are providing to the players with Regards to mental health like I Understand the care that you got so it Would be like the g-league in the NBA For example yeah yeah or double A Baseball and things like that uh yeah I Think it's just with a rising tide lifts All Ships kind of situation once the League franchise and we've got that huge Influx of money like I mentioned Beforehand Um it kind of helped everyone I know That there was a large structure put in Place for we call it Challengers that's Like the that's our our thing Um so when you're talking about the Challenger League there is a lot more Structure than there used to be I Mentioned the Wild Wild West a little Ago it was very much like that but now There's there's a lot of different Organizations there are professional Teams that have Academy rosters or Challengers rosters that are direct Directly linked to to the CDL teams

There are separate entities in their own That just bro that's British Premier League soccer [ __ ] where we draft you at 14 and you are part of our organization Exactly that is exactly correct wow I Understand when I watched the NFL how They make money how are these where how Are they making money like why would They invest it's not broadcast yet There's a little bit of broadcast but Like how are where is the money coming In for Esports it the sale of the game So there's a couple different Avenues um The main one obviously is advertising And selling sponsorships as as you do in General Um for the individual such as myself uh There are you know brand deals I have an Agent similar to how an NFL would do it Um you know I can't go on a commercial With State Farm and Patrick homes but I Can do Um some one-offs you know something for Like Herman Miller or just you know Brands in general that would want to Work with you Um they're streaming on Twitch there's a Lot of Revenue there you can do YouTube So it's just content as an individual on The individual level is probably the Number one as well as your salary which I'll get into on the league level it's a Lot of Brands it's a lot of selling Partnerships

Um and on the organizational level That's where you have the tie to uh Basically insanely rich people Um that like to do Esports or have an Interest in it so I used to play for the Seattle search uh they're partnering With the Canucks we uh I currently play For the LA thieves which is a branch of 100 thieves they are one of like a deep AAA easy Sports organization they had a Series a investment when they first Started their company invested by Drake You said like Rick Fox and Echo Fox There are multiple different uh cases Over Esports where people just have an Interest and happen to have a lot of Money and uh so I mean it's never a bad Thing Um you know I'm salaried and it it Provides my living and there's a huge Structure you know I have insurance it's It's a lot of different things but with That celebrity involvement that has not Made it mainstream or uncool in any way Oh I think it's I think it's the exact Opposite I think that Yeah funnily enough to Drake's involved Not Screech there you go oh no so to Talk about the celebrity thing just for A second um I think the pandemic really Moved video games into the the spotlight I think beforehand it was pretty taboo And it was nerdy to to just put it Blatantly um if you played video games

And I think the pandemic with everyone Being inside kind of tied everyone Together like look I can't go out I Don't have anything to do let's all hop On Warzone and and hang out so Um I think it it brought celebrities Into the Limelight uh you look at like Tyler Murray he just has memes around Him that he plays Call of Duty on his His Microsoft Edge when he's when he's On the field you know Drake like I said Is a series of investor of 100 thieves Um there's there's a bunch post Malone Is even like exactly he loves Apex and Was on complexity so I've met a lot of These guys I've met celebrities strictly Because I played video games and these Are things that I never would have been Able to do otherwise and it's kind of Cool because it's an icebreaker you can Go up and and you can talk [ __ ] to them You can do it humanizes them because When you see these people and you see Drake he's like dude why would I ever Put myself in the same room as this guy I wouldn't even know what to say but it Gives you the opportunity to be able to Speak freely and not be as nervous um And obviously that's just an extremely Privileged standpoint because I can talk To these people but because that's Always my thing I just want to make sure That I think it's cooler if they're Legitimate fans and have some level of

Emotional investment in what's happening Versus this just being I've put some Money on this and I'm here to check on My like yeah like almost Earnest in the Way that like Ryan Reynolds and Rob Mcelhaney bought that soccer team over In England but they're legit there and Running like they are invested in care Versus just somebody yeah just about Liquor what the [ __ ] do you know about Liquor yeah tequila buy my tequila did You go down there and check on your Tequila plants [ __ ] did you you Probably didn't after the break uh Costa I want to talk to you about your Experience going to one of these Tournaments what it was like we need to Talk about the salary Sam I don't want To pocket watch you but I want to know Okay we're pocket watching Give us the median we don't need your Number but give us the median and uh I Want to talk a little bit about uh women Representation within your sport as well This is beyond the scenes we'll be right Back Beyond the scenes we're rounding third And headed for home talking Esports now Michael Costa you went to one of these Esport events now I'll give you my scope Of knowledge we have the Wiz with Fred Savage Yep where he went to play Um Super Mario 3. that's right holy [ __ ]

Before it came out the whole movie was Basically a commercial from our story Yeah yeah it got my ass And then I also have the Last Starfighter where a dude was so good at A video game that an alien from space Came down and said can you help free our Oppressed people with your video game Skills That's my spectrum of knowledge of being Good at video games And being invited to do it at a pinnacle I don't know the second reference that's A cult hit bro those are some references Let me tell you those are some tier ones Deep Cuts I'm 44 years old I'm old so When you when you step into the Barclays Costume like just the array of people There like what's the demo for this is It 14 to 40 is it just young people That's a good question well you know my My previous knowledge of this was that Documentary the king of Kong I don't Know if you ever saw that about yeah Donkey Kong and I remember putting that Maybe in the DVD player saying what is This trash why did my brother make me Watch this and immediately am Suckered into because it's it's about Competition it's about watching people Compete at and at their highest level so I love that so Barclays Center I Definitely felt Fish Out of Water I Definitely felt like I was the tallest

Person there uh there was 20 there was 20 000 people there I immediately was Envious and jealous of the fandom of The Passion of the enthusiasm of the energy You know tennis you clap like this I Maybe had two people at my matches I was Watching Team Liquid compete in Counter-Strike and all the uh fans Audience members you know whatever you Call them they're wearing these Bracelets and when one team would place The bomb on the the other two you know And I'm I'm gonna butcher's the sport But when one bomb gets placed a clock Starts ticking down And every time a second goes off Everyone in the stadiums bracelet pulses Twenty thousand pulsing bracelets So then as the bomb gets closer and Closer to going off these bracelets Start glowing To add to the terrifying notion that This bomb is going to explode soon I'm Like Stan it's so cool Roy I'm standing There like there's 20 000 bracelets Going brighter red brighter red and the Other team's trying to like defend or Find the bomb or whatever the [ __ ] to Defuse it yeah it was like oh [ __ ] Esports you guys tied in the fans in the Game That was a badass move and that was when I was sold now I didn't I don't play and I didn't buy the Jersey but I

Immediately I immediately got it and Gave it some props because it was it was A fun environment Sam are people betting on this [ __ ] Because if this is like wait I'm sorry What yeah On DraftKings I can just go on a Gambling app and just go yeah give me Forty dollars on Sam to school to get 15 Kills throw out some parlays you know Whatever you want wow that's a level of Knowledge that I do not possess about This so if it's 20 000 people you're Streaming the exact same thing I'm I'm Sitting here preaching it's the same Thing so if it's being live stream There's Revenue coming from that and Eventually that has to trickle back to The players at a high level we're pocket Watching Roy it's pocket watching time At a high level Could I make six figures doing this for A living Yeah absolutely Um so when you're a member of this CDL Whether that be substitute or on the Starting roster your minimum salary is Fifty thousand dollars you cannot make 150 000 if you are a contracted CDL Professional how long is the season Uh the season is nine months so it's Crazy school year it's the exactly okay Yeah it's your time off Um so if you make your side hustles on

Twitch and do other streams you get your Celebrity stuff okay uh the high end You're making high six figures Um High sixes mid mid to mid to high Sixes on the the extreme cases like the The highest played player in the league Makes high six figures um I'm in the Middle not going to say where so just so People who aren't good with their Figures six figures is a hundred Thousand dollars so you're saying mid to High you can make half a million you can Make half a million to about five Hundred thousand damn is like the the Majority of the lead are probably 80 Percent That's awesome so when you when you look At the research you know with all of These different teams at least the Research on our side there seems to be a Lack of representation of women in Esports have you seen that number slowly Growing over the span of your career Talk about where representation is for Women when you start it versus where you See it going today because I would Imagine there isn't a need for a women's League like we're not going to get into Muscle mass and size different it's your Thumb move your can you move your thumbs Too So it's funny you asked because I think The was it yeah it was either yesterday Or the day before

Um there was the first uh woman to Qualified for the challengers Elite Which is basically like their tournament That is in the Challenger League um that Was the first time in forever uh and That was like two days ago I think um so Definitely there's there's more women Representation every year it's building And I think that that's just across Esports as well I don't even think That's specific to Call of Duty you know Valerian has women's leagues they have Full-blown uh I don't know what they They called in Valerie but they have Like Academy rosters they have a Full-blown League uh strictly for women So I think that as uh as the year goes On or as the years go on excuse me I I Can't help but agree that that as time Goes on there's just more and more women Representation which is incredible to See Um specific to Call of Duty I think We're lagging behind just a tad because It's not really something that I think Uh women really gravitated towards I Think Valerian is probably leading the Space right now in terms of just Esports As a whole because I was watching that The other day and no joke and it was Legitimately impressive because I'm her Terrific at Valerian I I can't I can't Play on keyboard mouse at all to save my Life in any aspect thank God I have a

Controller to to make my living on Um but yeah I think women are are Definitely trailblazing in the space Right now for sure is there in terms of The fight for because I don't want to I want to be very careful about not Rolling the Esports Community into the Gaming Community as a whole right I feel Like they're two different things very Separate we have professional gaming Which where there might be some degree Of gender discrimination and you're Saying that there are leagues and that There are efforts being that there are Efforts to make things more Equitable For women but on the gaming side we're Just talking to Regular Joe Blow gamer In the basement women are subjected to All types of harassment and trolling and Bullying and doxing How much can the Esports Community do to Try to speak out against that it's kind Of like the racism and soccer soccer is Not racist but there's a lot of the fans That are talking crazy in them stands so Has the Esports Community been able to Do anything I guess to speak out about That or try to stop and curtail that I Think that transcends the Esports Community I think that becomes just like A Humanity thing and trying to be a good Person in general Um but to your point absolutely I think Just trying to be as positive as you can

About the space and I think that gaming Definitely has that stigma attached Michael since you're such a filthy Casual I'm sure that you could uh you Probably agree that you know there there Are people that when you talk about Video games they're just people that are [ __ ] and I think that's an all walks Of life uh unfortunately I think that You're absolutely right Roy Um you know the sexism and stuff like That it definitely is not great for the Space not even just Esports but video Games and life in general that's Something that we need to be a lot more Progressive on um you know I I do my Best to to spread as much positivity Mushroom as I can and I'm very welcoming To anyone but Um you're definitely not wrong there and I think that when you have women Transcending in Esports and becoming you Know like I said with the Valor thing or Her name is Kelsey in in Call of Duty Um when you have these women making Headway into space I think that sets an Example because you know these women Could kick your ass in the video game That you're talking [ __ ] about so I Think that is something that um you know Hopefully down the line in a couple of Years or hopefully sooner Um Progression is made but I mean that's

Just the humanity thing in general just Trying to be a good person I don't think That's necessarily a new sports thing There's something beautiful as we get More women playing Um competitive Esports in particular Call of Duty There's Something Beautiful About men and women Trying to kill each other in the video Again it's very wrong I mean like that Is right now it's mostly men trying to Kill each other but it's adds such a Beautiful complexity when it's both Genders both working together and also Working against each other And that was your take away from this Whole segment Pastor is it film The Casual I like it No but I mean you talked about it a Little bit at the top Costa but you know As a casual coming into this and having Covered it How did it change your view of just you Know even just the idea that video games Make people crazy right like right like Like in theory right like they go oh Video games make people violent but then You have love that tag that's a such a Yeah I know it's such a half take I know You have an arena full of people Watching violence of people doing Violets out of there why aren't they all Fighting well you know I I just was reminded and humbled that

What I think Is one way is what I think but it's so Important to step out of your comfort Zone because I 100 would be the dad that Would say get off the video games go Outside get everything and go outside But then you walk into the Barclay Center And 20 21 000 tickets were sold and I Just say this is another healthy Outlet I know that what and you know they're Doing a violent game or whatever but it Was it it was really fun to see the team There was a team aspect there was a Coach they were learning lessons there Was people that were disappointed There's people that had achieved that Day it was preparing them for all facets Of life that's cool so just to interject Really quickly that was your first and Only experience with Esports that Counter-Strike tournament yeah you Probably picked the best thing that you Could have possibly done to have your to To do your very first time yeah well That's probably why we picked it too Counter-Strike fandom uh is kind of one On its own I think it's a league Above The Rest uh not to make the joke but League of Legends is also very good uh Counter-Strike has such passion behind It Um it it transcends the game as well it Goes to nationality the European

Counter-Strike Um you know Team Liquid was Brazilian Counter-Strike there are it's literally Compared to soccer I mean there's Legitimate fandom when it comes to Nationalities within Counter-Strike and That's why it's so incredible like when North America does well people are Losing their minds um you know years and Years ago Cloud9 was doing incredible They they won a major with shroud so Um Counter-Strike is I think the extreme Example of fandom and Esports and League Of Legends is also incredible as well Cool well Sam I can't thank you enough For coming on Costa thank you as well For contributing to this wonderful Wonderful conversation hope we converted Costa while we were here Roy I hope we Did yeah yeah let's baby steps let's put Them on a Super Nintendo Let's go to six buttons he's not ready For left L2 R2 he's not not quite the Keyboard mouse yet That's all the time we have for today But hopefully by now we taking you Beyond the scenes see you next week [Music] Hey [Music]