ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — HV Gamer Con returns to the Albany Capital Center March 19 and 20. It’s a chance to learn more about the growing esports arena and see some of country’s top gamers in action. Plus, upwards of $5,000 and some other prizes are up for grabs during the public tournament over the two day event.

CBS Sports announcer Larry Ridley founded the esports company Compete4ever, the first organization officially sanctioned by EA Sports to run live tournament events for the Madden Championship Series. “It’s a billion-dollar industry and it’s taking off” Ridley said. “I’m actually doing more or just as much esports now as I have done my traditional job, which I’ve been doing on TV for 20 years now!”

Ridley will be running the public tournament over the two day event. “I’m hosting the 2K and Madden portion,” he said. “We’re going to have a Super Bowl champion here, and an NBA player as well to do some commentating.”

The weekend will also feature some of the best collegiate talent in the country. Many schools, like UAlbany, have formed official esports teams. There, esports director and head coach Michael Leczinsky said, “We started this program in 2019. In less than two weeks we had almost 200 students who wanted to be a part of the program. We have over 700 applications and we have one of the biggest teams in the ECAC with over 140 students.”

The UAlbany team has already won multiple national championships and the school now offers esports scholarships, and has plans for some major expansion. “In the near future we’ll be building a brand-new arena. We’re looking at over 4,000 square feet. A state-of-the-art, world class facility here in Albany for our students,” Leczinsky said.