ESPN to expand further into esports
When ESPN announced that they would be broadcasting Valve's "The International" Dota 2 tournament, it was seen by many as the moment esports were finally received mainstream recognition. Not only was the tournament streamed through ESPN's online ESPN 3 service, but received a one off documentary on it's cable channel ESPN 2.
The winners, the "Chinese Dream Team", Team Newbee were the eventual winners of the $5 Million of the total prize pool of $11 million.
A source close to ESPN said that "ESPN were delighted" with the results of the event and think expanding further into esports is a logical step, they declined to give any detailed traffic numbers though.
"ESPN have seen enough recent successes with esports and are about to double down.The numbers they hit with The International have only cemented the view that the time is right."
The viewing figures for Valve's "the international" tournament exceeded expectations across the board, adding that the Xbox was the number one viewing platform—interesting given the fact DOTA 2 is a PC based game.
ESPN’s next esports project will be Major League Gaming's, or MLG's, Call of Duty league. MLG and ESPN recently collaborated on a special Call of Duty event at the Austin X Games, after which MLG President Michael Sepso promised the collaboration wouldn't be "a one-time thing." No games from that tournament were broadcast on any ESPN viewing platform, which may change the next time.
“They are in advanced talks to bring that product to both ESPN web properties as well as their TV stations, and they are in the preliminary stages of looking at other games,”
It’s not clear when the deal is likely to be brokered but both parties are said to be “keen” to resolve the talks as soon as possible.
I personally look forward to seeing more competitive esports from other sports channels, as I find esports just an enjoyable as any football match, a definitely more than cricket.
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