Why eSports Could be Taking Over Your TV Screen
Geeks have often had a tough time in finding enough nerdy entertainment on regular TV channels. Whilst you might occasionally get lucky and find a decent evening’s worth of Doctor Who on terrestrial television, it seems that most TV schedules seem to be devoted to fairly un-nerdy shows.
Thankfully, it looks like a geek storm might be brewing as the competitive gaming phenomenon, esports, has managed to defy the critics and could be making its way to a TV screen near you right now.
Esports has been with us for little over a decade, but it has somehow managed to become much more than a niche activity for those who spend a little too long on their PCs. Instead, we’ve seen competitive gaming become a billion-dollar industry that manages to fill sporting stadiums with thousands of eager nerds.
As these gaming showdowns attract millions more people via streaming channels like Twitch.tv, it’s little surprise to find that traditional television stations are starting to get interested in esports so as to boost their own flagging viewing figures.
Whilst the BBC is one of the most traditional television broadcasters around, they recently jumped on the esports bandwagon by featuring extended coverage of the League of Legends World Championship via their BBC Three channel.
BBC’s fierce rivals, ITV, have also shown that they are starting to fall under the spell of esports. This is because they teamed up with Sky to launch Ginx Esports TV which is a 24 hour dedicated esports channel that has already clocked up over 55 million viewers in 50 different nations.
Whilst the thought of watching a bunch of fairly nerdy looking youths playing games like Counter Strike Global Offensive and League of Legends might have not seemed like a recipe for good television, it seems as though TV channels are having success in treating esports just like traditional sports. As such you can watch live coverage of competitive gaming tournaments with high production values, informed hosts and expert commentators.
“We asked the dedicated esports betting site, esports.net, whether the competitive gaming trend could sustain its popularity and increase its exposure on our TV screens. They seemed to think that the inclusion of esports coverage on traditional sporting networks like ESPN could help even the biggest sceptic start to gain an appreciation for how competitive gaming works.”
ESPN have long been associated with their coverage of top US sports like American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey, and their decision to cover esports may have shocked their core viewing audience.
Whilst there were plenty of sceptics, it seems as though ESPN’s decision could be paying off as their coverage of everything from the Rocket League World Championship to the WCS Global Finals has shown that there are plenty of young viewers making the switch to ESPN. And with even Disney making moves to feature live Overwatch matches in their content, it shows that esports could be taking over your television very soon.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.