Local fans flock to meet members of Vancouver's new e-sports team
It was pandemonium outside a Vancouver electronics store on the weekend, as fans lined up to meet members of the Vancouver Titans, the city's newly-formed e-sports team.
The Titans is a professional team and plays in the Overwatch League, which is the biggest video game league in the world. Team members met their fans at a Vancouver Best Buy on Sunday.
The team is currently made of players between the ages of 18 and 22 and they practise six hours a day, sometimes adding in even more hours on their own time.
The team, which just formed this year, is on top of the league right now and they're heading to playoffs in a couple of weeks.
Harsha Bandi, one of the team's coaches, told CTV News Vancouver that he's pleasantly surprised with the fan support the team has received.
"We're really happy to see the fan response when we come out to Vancouver," he said.
"The Pacific Northwest overall, we've been really surprised and happy with fan outreach and every time we come out to do these meet and greets we see a lot of fans."
E-sports' popularity has exploded in recent years and just last month, a 16-year-old won a $3 million prize for winning the Fortnite World Cup in the United States.
Next year, the Vancouver team is scheduled to play twice at Rogers Arena and will likely be recruiting new members during the off-season, Bandi said.
"To get noticed by Overwatch League teams you need to play a lot on the rank ladder and climb up that. So players that can get really high in the rank ladder and impress coaches, they might get recruited," he said.
"When we're recruiting players we're generally looking for a positive attitude, they obviously need to be very skilled at the game and that’s what climbing the rank ladder generally demonstrates. Those two things and then communicating with the team very well are generally what we're looking to find."