July 22, 2016
With the release of games like Rocket League and League of Legends, gamers and sports fans alike realized that watching can be as entertaining as playing. And while younger siblings were typically the only people willing to sit through a video game without playing, the rise of esports has shown that the world is ready to make video games a spectator sport. And one game is going to make its debut on cable TV later this year.
That’s right, TBS has signed a deal to broadcast a tournament of the immensely popular first-person shooter game, Overwatch. The tournament will be shown to all cable subscribers on July 23rd and will feature teams from North America and Europe fighting for a whopping prize pool of $300,000. The winner of the entire tournament will go home with $100,000 along with a TV credit that Chicago comedians and reality star wannabes would kill for.
“This opportunity to feature Blizzard’s popular Overwatch further expands our esports offerings and aligns Eleague with a game that is widely embraced by the community,” said Craig Barry, executive vice president and chief content officer of Turner Sports. “We look forward to bringing the same level of production and storytelling capabilities we’ve demonstrated throughout the first season of Eleague to this championship event.”
This move is far from surprising, as esports have been exploding in recent years. According to research from Superdata, esports earnings have already reached $892 million and have reached audiences up to 214 millions viewers in 2016 alone. Perhaps more importantly, the data showed that audiences are expected to grow in the next few years, topping out around 300 million viewers by 2019, reflecting an almost doubling since 2015.
If you’ve ever played Overwatch, Rocket League, Call of Duty, or League of Legends, you understand the inherently engaging gameplay that would lead gaming and sports fans to watch at home. The required skill, the extensive teamwork, and the mind-bending graphics make for a perfect combination of sports and entertainment that cable TV should have jumped on a long time ago.
Photo: Flickr / Tim Bartel
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