Local CyberCafe Offers Stiff Competition for Amateur eSports Competitors

Cash, Glory, and the Spirit of Competition reign supreme at Section 9.

FARGO, N.D. — The eSports industry is quickly on pace to reach the one billion dollar mark, according to Newzoo’s Global eSports Market Report. While 10 years ago the idea of major competitive video game leagues may have been just a dream, hundreds of millions of fans around the world have helped turn a fantasy into reality.

Section 9 Cyber Cafe has been operating for 10 years here in Fargo, and co-owner Sean Sanford has been hosting video game tournaments there since the very beginning.

The tournaments serve as a way to get people into the store, but more than that, they allow local talent to challenge the best players the area has to offer, and sometimes play against big name talent in games like Starcraft and Super Smash Brothers.

“They’ve been beaten a few times by some of the local guys. We’ve got some good Smash players in Fargo.” said Sean.

Professional Cyber Athletes can earn salaries in the six-figure range. Many of them received their first taste of competition in Cyber Cafe’s just like Section 9.

The cafe is part of the ggCircuit, an organization that hosts tournaments in cyber cafes across the world.

Winners of local tournaments can earn sponsorship from the store, compete against the top players in the nation, and win up to $15,000.

Brennen Fisher plays at Section 9 often. He’s a competitor in the Fargo Fierce Friendlies events, a group that brings together the best talent in the area to compete in fighting games like Super Smash Brothers, Street Fighter, and Tekken.

His first taste of competitive video games was at NDSU, where he would take part in monthly meetups at the universities Smash Club.

For him, these competitions are a chance to show his skill to the rest of the community.

“Playing competitively, I always want to try and improve myself, and try and get better. I don’t want to be the best necessarily; I just want to be known as a good player. If people just said ‘Hey, I know that guy!’ I’d be like ‘Great, that’s awesome! Thank you!'” said Brennen.

Brennen and several other local Super Smash Brothers players are participating in The Function, a fighting game tournament in St. Paul, where they are hoping to place first, win some money, and compete against some of the best talent in the United States.

“I’ve been practicing, I’ve been trying to get better. I’m studying a little bit.”

Whether he wins or loses, Section 9 has a special place in his heart.

“It’s nicer to have the resources they have available, and it’s nice to have this space available for us to meet.” said Brennen.

You can find more information about Section 9 here.

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