(FOX 2) - One-point-two million dollars.
We'll say that again: $1.2 million. That's the cash prize awaiting the winner of a video game competition.
If that sounds surprising, but it shouldn't be. The culture of esports has ballooned into a massive industry, complete with drafts, live-streaming and yes, cash prizes.
Recognizing the potential in a burgeoning industry, the NBA is investing in the sport - the first of any national sports organization.
"When they built the league, they wanted to keep it as close as possible to the NBA product," said Adam Rubin, general manager of the Pistons GT, "so an NBA fan who knows nothing but competitive gaming can very easily say 'Oh, I know what the rules are and what the system is. This is interesting, let me take a look.'"
That means everything happening on the screen is made to be as realistic as possible. Of the 21 NBA teams in the league, each gets six players, with five playing at once. Each player controls only themselves, but with the success of teamwork, games can be won.
The games are played at the NBA 2K studios in New York on a stage instead of a court. It may look like just a video game, but this is a career for these players.
"On top of each player getting a full salary and housing benefits and utilities and retirement, they're competing for upward of $1.2 million this season," Rubin said, "an increase of $200,000 over last year's team."
In 2018, the New York Knicks won, with each player receiving $100,000 in just six months.
"It's just...what?" said Duane Burton, coach of the Pistons GT.
The benefits aren't the only realistic part of this career. Players can be traded to other teams. There's 10 million players in the country and 50 million worldwide. Naturally only the best get to play in competition. Only 75 players make it to the big leagues.
"I know parents are gonna hate me for this, but it's just like any other thing: you have to practice," said Burton.