May 28, 2021 - News

Des Moines gets new esports league this summer

A split image of a gaming console and a football.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Des Moines is launching a new summer esports league starting in July, city officials announced this week.

The big picture: Esports is a big deal. The billion-dollar industry is projected to grow by 400% in the next six years, according to Data Bridge Market Research.

  • Video game usage skyrocketed during the pandemic, and with streaming services like Twitch gaining popularity, the trend isn't expected to slow down.
  • Esports has also carved space in college sports. Just look at Grand View University, the first in our state to launch a varsity esports program that the school says has "exponentially" grown in players ever since.

Why it matters: It could open up opportunities for future investment in our city.

  • Members of the city's Park Board said this week that they'd consider a partnership between the city league and Grand View in the future.
  • It could even open doors for DSM to host big national events. I mean hey, we did it with skateboarding.

Details: Standard registration for the summer league begins Tuesday and costs $30.

  • There are leagues for ages 8 and up, starting the week of July 11 and lasting six weeks.
  • To play, you need your own console/computer and gaming account.
  • The games: Madden NFL 21, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.

What to watch: The Des Moines Gaming Club, a new gaming business that will also offer virtual reality, is opening in the coming weeks inside Southridge Mall.

  • It'll have leagues, tournaments, casual play hours and watch parties.

💬 Our thought bubble: Way cool. DSM's forward-thinking helps explain why we were ranked among the top park systems in the nation yesterday.

  • Esports wasn't a factor in the Trust for Public Land's ParkScore index, but it should be!

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