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Pro gamers put away the controllers and mice in favor of suits at the Esports Awards in North Texas

Gamers and hosts known worldwide gathered in Arlington Saturday night to celebrate competitive gaming.
Credit: WFAA

ARLINGTON, Texas — Lights, cameras… gaming! Gamers from around the world celebrated Saturday night as the Esports Awards were held in North Texas.

Think of the event as the Oscars of the billion-dollar competitive gaming world. If you’re still confused, just ask any kid these days. More than likely they’ll be playing Minecraft or Fortnite on a phone.

And if you thought gamers couldn’t get all fancy, you’d be mistaken! The Esports Awards had everything: VIPs, a red carpet, fashion… and a big ol’ Reinhardt from Overwatch cosplay.

All this to say, those within the esports industry could see an awards show this big as confirmation of the continuing growth of competitive gaming. And with fans being able to vote for the winners, the growth is ever-more important.

The CEO of the awards show, Michael Ashford, told WFAA this week that when the Esports Awards first started in 2016, they only had 7,000 votes. He said this year’s event saw more than 10 million people vote.

Along with the show’s growth, the internationally recognized event has also found its home at the Esports Stadium Arlington after it was held in London between 2016-2018. Arlington hosted the event in 2019, and that was all she wrote.

In fact, in true Texas hospitality, Arlington businesses and Mayor Jim Ross himself welcomed the Esports Awards and all the attendees to the city during the show’s live broadcast on Twitch.

“Welcome back to Arlington, Texas, y’all… you’re never going to find another place that knows how to take care of people. That’s exactly what we do,” Ross said on the Esports Awards stage in front of the attendees and viewers from across the world.

“I never knew how cool esports was until I got here to Arlington. We pride ourselves on being on the forefront of what is going on in technology and communities and what’s happening all over the world. That’s why we have this [Esports Stadium Arlington] facility,” he added.

Ross also presented an award for Esports Content Creator of the Year.

Situated right next to the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, the Esports Stadium has certainly made a name for itself within the industry since it opened in 2018.

North Texas has made a strong impression on the Esports Awards, according to its CEO. From the stadium to the hospitality, Ashford said: “I think there’s always going to be a home for the Esports Awards in Arlington.”

Whether you’re watching someone play Fortnite on a phone or you yourself are raging due to that recent League of Legends game, the billion-dollar esports industry is solidifying competitive gaming in mainstream entertainment.

And it was evident Saturday that North Texas is becoming a hub for worldwide esports.

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