Espn  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Espn  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Are eSports "real" sports? Science says yes! Tue, 15 Mar 2016 05:30:01 -0400 Teevell_6844

Despite growing in popularity, the validity of eSports as “real” sports is often in question. Even though ESPN now covers the Heroes Of The Dorm competition, it wasn’t that long ago when the president of ESPN declared that eSports weren’t a sport. Just last year in September Jimmy Kimmel also mocked both playing and viewing eSports on his show.

But one scientist has spent the last 5 years on research that puts eSports on equal footing with traditional sports. Professor Ingo Froböse, who works at the German Sports University, has found that professional eSports players experience physical demands far beyond expectations. The amount of hand-eye coordination surpasses that of table-tennis players, and the amount of stress hormones produced are similar to race car drivers. Froböse adds:

"This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to what happened during a very fast run, almost a marathon. That's not to mention the motor skills involved. So in my opinion, eSports are just as demanding as most other types of sports, if not more demanding."

Froböse recommends that eSports players adopt some of the fitness regimens that traditional athletes use to stay in peak physical fitness, such as exercise and a healthy diet. This could help extend a professional's career by an estimated 4 to 5 years.

So if you want to be a professional eSports player, it might be time to cut down on the Red Bull.

How EPSN Coverage and the Turner League are changing eSports Sat, 13 Feb 2016 05:30:23 -0500 Nick Harshman

Have you heard about Turner Broadcasting setting up a televised Counterstrike: Global Offensive eSports league? What about how Activision buying Major League Gaming in an effort to become the "ESPN of eSports?" Heck, even ESPN itself is dedicating an entire section of their website to eSports like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone.

At this point, it's no secret that eSports has emerged as a mainstream market, one that a lot of people are looking to get into. The question that comes to mind then, is how exactly all of this sudden interest will affect the eSports community as a whole. Is it a good thing? Is it bad? 

The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. 

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

The most noticeable and perhaps the most far-reaching consequence of this growth is the money influx the sport will assuredly experience. It's not like we haven't already seen crazy amounts of money already; the most recent Dota 2 Championship prize pool sat at a hefty $18 million. Even the 'lesser' championships have seen a bump in recent years. EVO's prize pool for Ultra Street Fighter IV in 2014 was $29,000 but jumped to $72,000 the following year. 

A study by research firm Newzoo shows that by 2019, the eSports economy will reach $1 billion in revenue. That's insane! One can safely assume that prize pools will jump, and fans will no doubt see more and more people attempt to make it as professional gamers. This can actually be a good thing, though. We'll start to see more professional teams start popping up, leading to more content for viewers to take in. Could you imagine an NFL style gaming league with 32 teams fighting for division crowns in order to make the playoffs? (Keep this in mind, well come back to it.)

The problems -- monetarily at least -- start to arise when we take a look at how a lot of this content is processed: for free. A ton of people watch their favorite events online, free of charge, through Twitch. What happens if they suddenly decide to put the content behind a pay wall? If ESPN starts showing LCS on TV, could Riot sign a TV deal and make it so certain games are shown only on ESPN? Professional sports leagues do this already. For example, the MLB signed a contract in 2014 where certain games were only shown on TBS. What's that? TBS? As in Turner Broadcasting? The guys that want to start their own CS:GO league? Yea, them.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. Would Riot actually sign a TV deal? I would argue no, as they are severely dedicated to their fanbase. That said, it is far from impossible, and as the money starts to reach into the billions, who knows what could happen.

Can we get organized?

The mainstream attention eSports is garnering can do a ton of good for the community too. Go back to my NFL-inspired gaming league for a second. What exactly does the NFL/NBA/NHL have that eSports doesn't? A governing body. 

What I mean by that is a central organization that puts rules and regulations into place. As eSports grows and becomes more popular, these regulations are going to become necessary. The NFL is successful because they have one governing body that establishes set rules for the league to follow, and eSports would do best to follow suit. 

As an example, take into consideration the League of Legends Championship Series. A problem that is has grown rampant throughout the sport is poaching players. The top LCS teams are quick to find top talent from other up and coming teams and recruit them into their ranks in order to kill any future threats to their LCS spot. There are rules in place to prevent this sort of thing, but it still happens and we end up seeing fledgling teams torn apart as their top members join up with the bigger squads.

A sport can't survive that way and it wouldn't be surprising if ESPN pushed eSports towards becoming more like the other major sports it covers. Creating a system similar to the NFL would be ideal. Establish a cap, make sure player contracts are guaranteed, hold a draft, etc. Even a farming system similar to the MLB's minor league would be a step in the right direction. You create a league for second-tier players, but also allow them the chance to move into the majors. It's a win-win scenario.

A Growing Community

Most importantly, this whole situation is a chance for our community to grow. What we should pride ourselves on as gamers, is our passions for what we love. The gaming community has fought for years for eSports to be considered a 'real' sport and we seem to be reaching a point where we can say we've done it. 

As fans, we should want our sport to be open to anyone and everyone. How many people who don't watch football watch the Super Bowl? The World Series? Wouldn't it be awesome to see a few million people who don't normally follow eSports get invested in a game of CS:GO or a particularly close game of League? Even if they don't understand the minute details, they'll have fun watching anyway. 

Our goal should be to create a community where people can watch eSports on TV without having to hear people say how stupid it is. As ESPN and Turner continue to push eSports into the limelight, it falls to us gamers to make sure we stay there. 

GDC Survey indicates rising developer interest in VR and eSports Wed, 20 Jan 2016 10:34:46 -0500 Damian A. Hinton

According to a recent "State of the Industry" survey, interest in developing for Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS is quite low among the approximately 2000 game developers who took part.

The survey, which is conducted before each GDC (Game Developers Conference), confirms that the majority of developers aren't particularly keen on developing for Nintendo's gaming platforms. Only 5% show interest in the Wii U, and 3DS an even lower 2%, numbers that are actually down from last year.

PC led the poll with over half of all developers (52%, down from 56%) showing enthusiasm, and Mobile not far behind with a slightly less than half of the developers (44%, down from 50%). 

Xbox One (23%, up from 22%)  and PlayStation 4 (27%, up from 26%) show slight increases over last year survey. 

The real star of the show is Virtual Reality, which saw an enormous jump in interest moving from 7% up to 16%, indicating a rising interest in the new technology. 75% of developers polled also believe that VR is a "sustainable business to be in."

Even more impressive is the belief in the popularity of eSports. Among those polled, 88% see eSports to be a "fast-growing" segment of the industry. The involvement of big companies such as Electronic Arts and Activision, and the sports network ESPN probably factor heavily into their opinions.

ESPN embraces eSports with new website section Thu, 14 Jan 2016 18:48:15 -0500 Nick Harshman

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 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 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 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.

PewDiePie defends YouTube Red Sun, 01 Nov 2015 12:14:00 -0500 Cameron Patel

Top YouTube personality Felix Kjellberg, aka "PewDiePie", has come to the defense of YouTube's new subscription service after it received tough criticism during its first few days. Going into a great amount of detail PewDiePie shared his thoughts on the issue via his Tumblr page.

Personally, I’m ok with if you use adblock on my videos. Ads are annoying, I get it, I’m not here to complain about that.

But for smaller channels, this number can be devastating.

I think what many people still don’t realize is that:

# YouTube Red exist largely as an effort to counter Adblock. 

# Using Adblock doesn’t mean you’re clever and above the system. 

# YouTube Red exist because using Adblock has actual consequences. 

PewDiePie recently conducted two polls on his Twitter account, asking his followers if they would spend money on YouTube Red. Only 6% of respondents said yes, whereas 40% of them admitted to using  Adblock on YouTube. 

PewDiePie has already agreed to make exclusive content for users of YouTube Red, including a new reality series.

Read About PewDiePie's reality series on YouTube Red

In the meantime, major sports network ESPN has left the site after not being able to resolve the conflict between content rights and YouTube Red's subscription model. Many other content creators are also having problems with what they see as "extortion" on YouTube's part.

There has also been controversy over YouTubers not being paid for views made by YouTube Red users on a free trial. YouTube has responded by assuring content creators that they will recieve a cut from YouTube's music streaming service instead. 

It is understandable why YouTube has resorted to a subscription model, regardless of all the backlash they are getting. Adblock has become more of problem for both the content creators and the YouTube community as a whole, as it cuts into their primary source of revenue; advertisements. It's a problem for any any website that relies on advertising revenue, which is most of them.

Giant Bomb have had a lot success after going to a subscription model, while other sites have not been as lucky. But regardless, YouTube believes that this decision will be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, since this is a more consistent way to monetize their views. 


Does YouTube Red have problems? Well, it depends on who you are asking, but the implementation of this new subscription model did not come from greed. It came from desperation. YouTube has not been a profitable company in years, as they pay billions of dollars just in infrastructure.

YouTube's competition has only been increasing these past few years as the viewership and revenue for both Netflix and HBO have risen to greatly. YouTube Red needs to be a success in order for YouTube to be a viable platform for its content creators. 

Activision hires former ESPN CEO and MLG co-founder to lead new esports division Thu, 22 Oct 2015 06:12:37 -0400 Robert Sgotto

Activision Blizzard is starting to make big strides in the esports scene, and when 13 billion hours were spent last year watching their games, it's easy to see why the giant publisher wants to take esports seriously.

Former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso are taking the reins on Activision's newly announced esports division and they're eager to see esports evolve.

In it to win it

"I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues," said Bornstein in an Activision Blizzard press release. "I'm excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports."

In September, Activision announced a Call of Duty esports league and a prize pool of $3 million

Subsidiary Blizzard has many titles to work with, like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Starcraft II.

With so many people watching the publishers games, it's a move that only makes sense. "Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want," said Sepso, "and I'm excited to help support this community in a way that honors its history."

They certainly have their foot in the door, and with Blizzard already appearing on ESPN2 with Heroes of the Dorm, "the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2," it seems like they know what they're doing.


It's only a matter of time

With the ever growing popularity of esports, and the fact that esports professionals can apply for athletes visa, it won't be long before people aren't so dismissive of this rising scene.

Maybe one day Bornstein will have a chance to prove to ESPN president  John Skipper that he shouldn't be so quick to dismiss esports.

ESPN eSports Issue: A Sign of Change? Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:48:17 -0400 Matt Amenda

Yesterday, Adweek's Brian Flood tweeted the cover for the upcoming issue of ESPN:

That charming face up there is real-life Cole Train Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks' star juggernaut and now Call of Duty's newest bad guy.

Immediately people were yammering about it: What's with Call of Duty and its celebrity cameos? Are they desperate? Can Marshawn even act? Can he plow through lines as well as people?

Here's my question though: are none of these people appreciating the fact that freaking ESPN is about to release an eSports issue?


As in, the highest-ranking sports network on the planet! Is going to release an eSports issue! And this only a bare 9 months after their president John Skipper publically slammed eSports as not being "real sports"!

Pewdiepie and Marshawn Lynch are mentioned on the same cover of a major incorporated sports magazine. This feels so surreal.

Esports are a global phenomenon with spectators in the millions, but here in America you might never know it unless you're in the right circles. Esports like League of Legends and Starcraft have yet to enjoy the massive mainstream viewships here that they have in places like South Korea or China. DOTA champions are not household names in these parts.

But this new magazine issue could be a turning point.

If ESPN is willing to publish news about eSports, who else will follow? This could be the first domino to fall in a chain reaction of networks cashing in on a trend, expanding the sphere of public acceptance to places it's never been in this hemisphere. It has to happen eventually. Maybe, with the release of this issue, we could be ones to witness its beginning.

5 Other Soccer Players That Should be on FIFA 15's Cover Sun, 20 Jul 2014 18:17:41 -0400 Chris_Lemus


Landon Donovan, midfielder and ESPN 2014 World Cup analyst, Los Angeles Galaxy


Major League Soccer’s leading scorer did not make the U.S Men's National Team for the World Cup this year. Instead, Donovan had to settle for being a ESPN contributor. Being a FIFA cover player is a good consolation.


Cristiano Ronaldo, forward, Real Madrid


Guys, ever wanted to have a cute video game date night with your girlfriend, but video games are not appealing to her? Well they do now. Ladies, you’re welcome.


Robin Van Persie, forward, Manchester United


Speaking of superheroes, this soccer superstar earned his superhero-like nickname of “The Flying Dutchman” after he scored a highlight reel header during this year’s World Cup. Gamers could even design their own Van Persie covers, making him fly with a cape through a Flappy Birds or Superman 64 level.


Givanildo Vieira de Sousa “Hulk”, forward, Zenit Saint Petersburg


Video games and superheroes go hand-in-hand, so why not make Hulk look like his superhero doppelgänger? An entirely new demographic of gamers would become attracted to the FIFA series.


Tim Howard, goalkeeper, Everton


If there is anything Howard could save, other than a record 16 saves during this year's U.S. World Cup match against Belgium, it is EA Sports from using Messi or Rooney yet again. Howard has the personality for a cover spot too; nearly any post-save or goal picture of him showcases his angry temper.


For the third straight time, EA Sports has decided to use FC Barcelona soccer superstar Lionel Messi as their cover athlete for FIFA 15. Although they added Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey, this is not the first time EA Sports reused the same athlete. Previous cover athlete Wayne Rooney was used for seven consecutive years, with Ronaldinho joining him on multiple occasions throughout that time.


FIFA 15 has a lot of potential to feature new athletes, and here are five who break up the boringly repetitive cycle of soccer stars being reused for multiple covers.

The International 4 Gets National Cable Airtime Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:41:20 -0400 Chris_Lemus

The International 2014, Dota 2’s biggest tournament, will enter the mainstream with a cable television deal involving “the worldwide leader in sports.”

Valve announced on Thursday coverage of the five-day event will be presented in collaboration with ESPN, beginning with a broadcast by ESPN3 on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

Valve’s Market Director of Operations Erik Johnson said:

From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year's International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports. We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago.

Dota 2’s premier tournament began in Germany with a prize pool of $1 million. This year, it has caught the gaming community’s attention by offering the largest cash grand prize ever in a competitive gaming tournament - $10.8 million.

Players of the game were mostly responsible for helping raise the record amount, motivated by in-game rewards with every monetary goal.

While all 10,000 tickets for the event in Seattle’s Key Arena have been sold out, ESPN3 will be providing Dota 2 fans who tune in to the online streaming service with match highlights, interviews, and commentary.

ESPN’s partnership with Valve is the latest collaboration during the recent growth in popularity of eSports.

Last year, the League of Legends finals was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The event brought a sold out audience of 11,000 people to see gamers compete in the online multiplayer battle arena game. Recently, ESPN partnered with Major League Gaming (MLG) in June to host a Call of Duty tournament during the X Games.

In addition to ESPN3 providing coverage, an exclusive finals preview show will take place on cable channel ESPN2 at 11:30 p.m. ET.

The final match preview can also be viewed digitally on WatchESPN.

The International 2014 main event matches will take place July 18 through the 22, concluding with the final match presented on ESPN 3.

ESports Expert Buckness Sees A Level Playing Field For Female Gamers Fri, 09 May 2014 06:36:50 -0400 John Gaudiosi

Doug Fleming is known as "Buckness" to eSports fans. The 27-year-old pro gamer from Oceanside, CA has played Halo competitively over the years. These days, he’s working with Astro Gaming within eSports and is also working on becoming a pro League of Legends player. Fleming reached out to me after he read the Kelly Kelley interview on females in pro gaming and wanted to offer a male perspective on the opportunities eSports has opened up for gamers of both sexes. He explains why we’ll see more females integrated into pro gaming teams in this exclusive interview.

How did you get involved in eSports?

Fleming: “I got involved with eSports when I was 16 years old. I played Halo 2 when it was around its prime in MLG. I was also very into Madden football and watched the Madden Challenge, as well. My good friend Ben Jackson was on a pro Halo team and the more I played with him, the more I got into Halo and wanted to get better and be a part of the scene.”

Can you discuss your career thus far?

Fleming: “My career in eSports has been a pretty fun one. I've played in tons of tournaments around the world. Although I haven’t taken any championships, I have had some pretty consistent results over the years. I’ve also networking with a lot of different gaming companies to be able to reach my goal, which is to ultimately be able to help push eSports to a new high. I currently help Astro Gaming at major gaming conventions and act as an ambassador for them as well.

What have been some of the keys to your longevity in eSports?

Fleming: “The biggest thing is my ability to network and also the knowledge I have about eSports. Of all the people I know in eSports, I think I know more about it both here in the US and overseas then anybody. That has definitely helped me stay relevant, being able to talk about eSports on a player level and a business level. I also think I’ve been around for so long because of the pride I take in being a part of the eSports community. I’m always explaining and telling people about the ins and outs of eSports and explaining things they may not understand about a game they don’t play or a player they don't know. I love talking about eSports and I love spreading knowledge about it.

How have you seen eSports evolve over that time?

Fleming: “When I first saw eSports it was in a little convention center in a not so big hotel. Then I started seeing it in bigger venues. At that time there wasn’t really any streaming, so if you wanted to watch your favorite player it had to be live. Then Tournament sites started streaming their tournaments on websites like MLG, WCG and CGS. All of a sudden I was watching Halo on USA network and I was really excited because we were one step away from being a real sport and running television. When I saw ESPN get involved with MLG I was pumped because what better way to portray eSports then ESPN. I honestly thought that it was going to be the peak. When Riot Games sold out the Staples Center I thought, “we have arrived.” It’s just amazing to me to see that at one point as gamers we barely filled a conference room and now we are selling out stadiums. It’s just amazing to me.

How have you seen female pro gamers compete against the guys over the years?

Fleming: “I’ve seen a lot of girls come into eSports and get eaten alive and I’ve seen a lot of girls destroy a lot of guys consistently. Although sometimes it seems like girls are inferior in eSports, this is untrue. The girls that stay motivated and hungry are the ones who have stuck out and dominated the scene, whether they won a championship or not. Some girls have closed the gap in this male-dominated sport overall. Although there hasn’t been a wave of dominance where all you see is girls winning, for the most part a lot of guys know which ones are a threat and have started to treat them and respect those girls accordingly.

What opportunities do you feel eSports opens up for both sexes?

Fleming: “It gives both sexes a chance to work with the companies that they love, whether it is community management, event staff, game testing, booth modeling, designing, or selling merchandise. This ultimately lets them stay around the things they love, which are games and eSports.  The dream goal for most people is to be able to work for the company that makes their favorite game or their former sponsors. Nowadays companies are looking at the ex-pros and super fans -- both male and female -- who have made a sizable dent in their games community so the company is able market to fans and consumers they maybe couldn’t reach before. If eSports wasn’t as big as it is now, companies wouldn’t be as willing to look at someone with just hands-on experience instead of someone who is fresh out of college with a degree. ESports has definitely opened the doors for people to transition from player to working on the back-end. You have Bravo, who was a pro Halo coach for the top teams now working for 343, you have Xena who was the first Halo pro now working for Bungie, you have the Frag Dolls who now work for Ubisoft, and you have Combofiend, a pro gamer in the fighting game community now working for Capcom. And that’s just a few.”

What are some successful female pros that stick out in your mind?

Fleming: “The biggest ones who stick out to me are the ones who either changed the game, set a standard, or did something no one ever thought was possible because they were female, or put fear in male opponents. There have been a good 50, but a few that are my favorites are Bittersweet, Xena, Smiley, Miss Harvey, Madelisk, Scarlet, Kayane, Hafu and Pixxel.”

What are your thoughts on what Kelly Kelley said about the hardships of females competing in eSports today?

Fleming: “This is a sensitive subject because it can be taken the wrong way by one group of female gamers and embraced by another group of female gamers. It’s harder for the females that don’t want to work for it and cut corners or expect to be handed shortcuts because they are female. This sport has never been easy to break into -- not even for the guys. Girls are treated just like how the pros treat amateurs because you have to prove yourself. You can’t expect to just gain respect because you won a show or you sometimes play in a pro lobby, get Twitch viewers or you dated somebody that has a sizable reputation. It has to be consistent. For some females to only say ‘it’s hard for girls’ is an excuse to a certain extent. The ones who put in 8+ hours a days and the ones who are making the results slowly but surely on LAN are the ones who are getting the respect. Guys are going to respect the female gamer who shows that they are willing to work and grind not the female gamer who hits a certain point and then has their hand out looking for handouts. I’ve seen a lot of them do that and wonder why they are not taken seriously. The way certain females carry themselves at events plays a part to because if you have a reputation as someone who’s there the event after party and not to compete and do well, we all see that. Nothing worth fighting for is easy and if being pro is something you really want, you have to go through the dirt before any success. And that goes for everyone, not just female gamers.”

Do you think a female pro gaming league like the WNBA would work?

Fleming: “I think they would work.There are a good amount of leagues for female pros now like Ironlady, and Zowie tournaments for Starcraft. I don’t think it will be on the same scale as the leagues we have now, just like the WNBA isn’t on the same scale as the NBA. But people will still watch it because it’s still eSports and it would be supported.”

How do you see things evolving moving forward with pro gaming between the sexes?

Fleming: “ESports will still be male dominant but more and more female gamers will start to show face, wanting to be taken seriously and showing their skills that demand respect. We will see more mixed teams as the gap closes, but I don’t think we will see a consistently dominant all-female team in League of Legends or Call of Duty anytime soon.”

More than any other traditional sport, does eSport offer a truly level playing field in which female pros could play with and against guys?

Fleming: “The playing field -- as far as resources and tools to be pro -- is level. We have the same console, games, controller, keyboards and mouse. If you put in work, you will get results. And that goes for both sides. If female gamers put in work like the guys they want to beat, then it will show. There’s no cheat codes to give advantages in skill. It all comes down to a matter of mental expertise.”