On the weekend of August 26-27, APU alumni Paul Ward '11, political science, and Tyler Endres '11, communication studies, hosted the Universal Open Rocket League Grand Finals, in which 16 two-person teams competed in a televised video game tournament for a grand prize of $100,000.

Featured in the New York Times, Ward and Endres opened the first of its kind Esports Arena in the U.S. in 2015. Located in a 95-year-old building in Santa Ana, the arena hosts video game competitions, known collectively as e-sports.

The Esports Arena’s success is largely attributable to the rapid growth of the e-sports industry in the U.S., which, according to Fortune Magazine, was projected to reach $463 million in revenue in 2016, a 43 percent increase from 2015. The U.S. is the leading country in e-sports, representing 38 percent of global market shares.

Ward and Endres plan to soon expand their operations with a 16,000-square-foot arena scheduled to open in Oakland in 2017, and a 30,000-square-foot arena expected to open in the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas early 2018.

“Our kitchen table in college was covered in TVs and Xboxes,” said Endres, looking back on their time as roommates at APU, where they hosted video game competitions with friends.

Read the New York Times article here.

From left: Paul Ward and Tyler Endres