Some people believed that eSports wouldn’t find a place on broadcast television, due to a lack of interest in the field compared to traditional sports. However, that isn’t stopping some major networks from trying to take part in eSports competitions, as it’s a growing phenomenon that attracts millions of viewers and fans.
ESPN is the latest network to take this gamble, as it will once again bring eSports to the forefront with the forthcoming Heroes of the Dorm event, which kicks off later this month and concludes in late April, according to MCV.
American and Canadian university students will compete in Blizzard’s action-packed Heroes of the Storm multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, in the hopes of waiting over $450,000 in tuition fee contributions. The winning team will be able to earn up to $25,000 per year for the remainder of their time at the university of their choosing, while senior and graduate students will be able to apply a contribution towards their student loan repayments.
ESPN plays to televise the eSports event within the area, although there’s no word if it will see national broadcast. At the very least, it should also be available for online viewing, especially considering that eSports-style events get big numbers online. Tournaments that have run over on Twitch.tv are clear evidence of that.
This is quite a turnaround for ESPN when it comes to the thought of eSports, as the president of the sports network, John Skipper, stated that the competitive event is “not a sport” and even compared it to a competition level along the lines of chess. Perhaps the network changed its mind when it saw what kind of numbers events were drawing both online and in person (like any given League of Legends tournament, which generates huge interest regularly).
That’s not to say we’ll be seeing eSports coverage on a weekly basis, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. And who knows, ESPN may sponsor more events like this and slowly grasp that eSports are just as popular as traditional sports. And a little more exciting than golf matches, yes
Check out the teaser trailer for Heroes of the Dorm below.