Skip to navigationSkip to content
Alex Welsh for Quartz
Rush from Echo Fox high-fives the crowd after their winning match at the League of Legends tournament at Riot Studios on Sunday.

Photos: Inside the excitement of an esports tournament

Johnny Simon
Member exclusive by Johnny Simon for The rise of esports

If you think esports is just “people watching people play video games,” you’re technically right, but you’re missing the extent to which it’s become a true spectator sport. Fans make signs for their favorite players, the audience is rapt with emotion as they follow every move of the game, and the broadcast is narrated by professional commentators who can break down a team’s gameplay like one would analyze the fielding strategy for a football or soccer team.

Also did we mention that some championships can be watched by massive audiences that rival the Super Bowl?

Quartz sent photographer Alex Welsh to the first weekend of the spring season for the popular Leauge of Legends tournament, held in the studios of game maker Riot. While these early season games are small compared to some of the larger, arena-filling championships, they still have all the trappings and production of professional sports.

You are reading a Quartz member exclusive.

Become a member to keep reading this story and the rest of our expert analyses on the changing global economy.

Why we think you’ll like it:

The rest of our guide to The rise of esports

News of the moment that’s contextualized, digestible, and always global in perspective

Exclusive, deeply researched guides on what the economy’s next normal will look like

Master this transition in your work and personal life through direct access to our journalists and the rest of our community