The Nation's fastest-growing sports isn't soccer or mixed martial arts. It's not rugby or lacrosse. It might not even be a sport at all. Competitive video gaming, or e-sports, has exploded in the U.S. over the last five years as advances in technology have made the games better and the world smaller. There are teams and uniforms and pro leagues and seven-figure salaries. Nearly 12,000 rapt fans clapped Thunderstix and cheered the action on the big screen at Madison Square Garden in late August as Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and Team SoloMid (TSM) battled for North American supremacy in League of Legends. In mid-October, gaming enthusiasts filled the stands at the worlds at SSE Arena in London and, in costume, on the streets outside.
Spanish soccer team Real Madrid topped Forbes' annual list of the most valuable sports teams in the world for the third straight year. Forbes says the figures are enterprise values based on current stadium deals. The average team value for the list is $1.75 billion, up 31% from 2014. The rise in valuations are due to the increased wealth of NBA and MLB teams.