ESPN embraces eSports with new website section
ESPN has not been shy about testing the eSports waters in the past couple years, as seen by their coverage of the Dota 2 International in 2014 and 2015, as well as the League of Legends Championship in 2014.
The response to their coverage seems to have opened their eyes to the possibilities in eSports. As such, ESPN has launched a brand new section of their website today that's dedicated solely to the coverage of eSports. Despite past dismissals of the legitimacy of eSports - ESPN's president himself has said before that they're not real sports - it seems that this move is a step towards giving esports athletes the recognition that they deserve.
Chad Millman, editor-in-chief of ESPN.com and ESPN Magazine, had this to say:
“Today’s launch – anchored by the influential voices of Darin Kwilinski, Rod Breslau and Tyler Erzberger – is our latest push to reach and connect with this growing and passionate audience. Fans will find the same level of quality content and journalism that users of ESPN.com have come to expect, including in-depth looks at the competitive gaming world and on-site reporting from the major tournaments.”
In a post from ESPN MediaZone, it was announced that for the first week, readers can expect "video, news on the current and future state of eSports, off-season grades that look back on the past season of multiple league championships from around the world, and profiles on gamers who have influenced the meteoric rise of eSports. Reporting will also be delivered from the opening weekend of the North America League of Legends Championship Series on January 16. Fans will be able to tweet and share content from the site by following @ESPN_esports."
From what I can gather from ESPN.com itself, it looks like the majority of the coverage will encompass League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Hearthstone with the potential to cover other topics. Scrolling through, you can see Halo and Starcraft II on the page as well, which leads one to assume that big gaming events for other eSports based games will be covered. Counter Strike: Global Offfensive and SMITE are likely to see coverage as well.
Can we look forward to ESPN coverage of EVO or the CS:GO Championship? As eSports makes its way towards garnering major mainstream attention, we can certainly hope so.