MILWAUKEE — Who doesn't remember staying up late trying to beat that one video game level you've been stuck on for weeks, or finishing your homework early to play Mario Kart at your friend's house?
Video games have touched almost all of our lives in one way or another. But what if we told you that the gaming world has generated more than $1 billion worldwide over the last couple of years. And that's just the beginning.
"You've got streamers, gamers, people who are paid to play video games professionally," said Milwaukee Esports Alliance founder, Brandon Tschacher.
Even Former Green Bay Packer Ahman Green traded in his cleats for a controller once he retired. He was just one of many who attended the first Wisconsin Esports Summit in Milwaukee Thursday. Gamers, Esports teams, leagues, and more came together to discuss the future of esports in the state.
"Yeah, I'm coaching competitive video gamers, it's real. It's here," said Green.
Gaming leagues say the Esports industry has already had a huge economic impact on Wisconsin, creating more than $300 million in revenue. They want to see that continue to expand.
"There are places that are doing $25 million arena build right now and we are trying to advocate for being one of those places in the country where that is happening," said Tschacher.
But gamers say not a lot of people know about the growing Esports industry.
"There was a negative stigma that gamers are just these loners that play video games in their mom's basement. These players honed their skills for months and years and work on it for hours on end and they are very competitive, very skilled, and they do all the things that a professional traditional athlete would do," said the general manager for Bucks Gaming, Patrick Gloglvsky.
That's why these gamers are making it their mission to teach people about Esports and the benefits that come from it.
"If we brought an event to the Fiserv Forum, you're talking like 10,000 people that are very passionate. They are going to come from all over the states to fly into Milwaukee, get a hotel around the Fiserv, go out at night. It's a very positive cycle that really has no risk, no negatives. So it's just a matter of time," said Gloglvsky.