The Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas was back open Saturday after a Friday bomb threat forced an evacuation.
The Call of Duty World League was a much different scene from the day before. Dallas Police searched the building for four hours after someone called to say the building was going to explode. They found backpacks, but decided it was a hoax.
Houston resident Andrew Lara tells FOX 4 he’d just gotten into town when the building was evacuated.
“I’ve always been a big MLG [Major League Gaming] fan, it’s actually my first MLG event, it’s close to home, Texas, coming out here to support the world of gaming, really love it.” He said.
The event brings gamers together from all over the world to compete. Event organizers say the Call of Duty World League has grown from around 4,000 attendees in its first season, to more than 20,000 every year.
Industry experts say the world of Esports started gaining momentum in the 2000s. It’s now a $700-million industry and growing more than 40% annually.
“We’re seeing that like here, this weekend at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. We’re having our biggest ever Call of Duty tournament. Over 200 teams here playing for $200,000 just this weekend.” Said Call of Duty Esports director Kevin Flynn
Big names like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are taking note. Jones recently got into the Esports game, purchasing compLexity Gaming.
People like Jerry Jones with all that traditional sports background, this is an exciting field for these guys because for me, these people are the 21st century athletes.” Said Flynn.
Event organizers say Friday’s bomb threat did put them behind schedule. Things wrapped up late Saturday night.