Looks like eSports has found a home on TV. In the past, some eSports events were shown on ESPN 2. Which caused some controversy, but looks like ESPN isn’t the only one who wants to cash in on the growing popularity of competitive gaming. TBS – Turner Broadcasting System – is one of the biggest TV Networks in the United States. They’ve announced a partnership with Valve to create a new league in association with WME | IMG that will showcase the hit game ‘Counter Strike: Global Offensive” on their channel. If successful, they will branch out to other games.
According to the announcement “All aspects of the eSports league – including the live event experience – will be jointly managed by Turner Broadcasting and WME | IMG, with Turner Studios providing a state-of-the-art facility specifically created to showcase the live gaming competitions. Slated to begin in 2016, the televised presentation of the competitive gaming events will feature 10 consecutive weeks of programming twice per year – the most extensive commitment to televised eSports programming to date – airing Friday nights on TBS.”
The President of Turner Sports, Lenny Daniels shared his excitement of the partnership “We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios, and presenting the competitions in an innovative way throughout our portfolio of leading brands.”
The partnership goes far beyond just TV exposure. Turner Broadcasting is making eSports a major focus of their brand. Even featuring up to date reports on their very popular sports website the Bleacher Report. The website will cover a lot of the behind the scenes information from Tuesday to Friday through each tournament week. So, essentially, Turner Broadcasting is treating this in the same way they cover any major sporting event. Live TV, and up to date reports through the Bleacher Report.
If this is successful, expect ESPN, and other majoring networks to start pushing to show eSports on television. With the demographic that TV networks rely on for advertising – 15 to 36 year old males – dwindling, and eSports becoming very popular with that group, it makes a lot of sense for TV networks to start showcasing this. Yet, eSports has been embraced greatly by a live streaming community. Only time will tell how they will compensate for that. What are your thoughts? Will you watch Counter Strike: Global Offensive on TV next year?