Supersport will be showing highlights of IEM Katowice

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SS corporate logo

South Africa’s biggest sports broadcasting network, SuperSport, announced earlier today that they will be running highlights of this past weekend’s Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. While this may just be highlights, this is a huge step forward for South African eSports.

In their press release Super Sport alluded to the fact  that eSports can no longer be ignored, although those weren’t their exact words.

eSports is the next frontier in international sport and SuperSport plans to be there every step of the way.

Also known as electronic gaming, eSports are mind sports driven essentially by video games. Although the genre is fledgling in South Africa, there is already a sponsored local professional league.

Overseas, it is much different, as was the case in Poland this past weekend where 100 000 fans crammed in for the IEM World Championship to watch professional gamers play on giant screens. A dozen countries were represented and 10 different games featured in the competitors’ chase for a share of the $500 000 prizemoney.

Highlights of the event will be broadcast on SuperSport this week.

Last year, the League of Legends world championship was broadcast in 19 languages by 40 broadcast partners.

Local research indicates that eSports will soon become ubiquitous, especially with Generation-Zers who grew up on gaming devices and cellphones.

Highlights of the event in Poland to be broadcast as follows:

eSports

South Africa has been in the shadow of the global eSports community for quite some time, but recent developments have somewhat closed the gap. Earlier this year ESPN announced their involvement in international eSports, launching their own vertical. This step in including eSports during prime time, be it only highlights, is a major step forward for South African eSports.

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In February, the Telkom Digital Gaming League announced their Masters Series with a prize pool of R1 million, which sees the eight best gaming organizations taking part in Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These small steps in the right direction are laying the foundation for live events broadcasted and increased coverage by South Africa’s largest mainstream media companies.

IEM Katowice was easily one of the most exciting eSports events of the year, even though we’re only in March. The Counter-Strike alone stood above the rest as one of the most exciting events featured at IEM Katowice.

South African gamers will now hold their breath in anticipation for SuperSport, and South Africa’s, next big step in gaming.

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Last Updated: March 7, 2016

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit’s esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere – but my work here is independent of that.

  • Michael Matusowsky

    This is pretty neat,

  • Brandon van Reenen

    I’m going to get a lot of heat for this but… am I the only one feels that – although competitive – eSports should not be classified as a sport? My apologies if this offends anyone, just thought I’d spark up some debate about it, or not check my Disqus notifications out of fear of being cyberbullied. 😛

    • I agree with you. I did a vlog on this exact topic. But it’s great that people in SA are starting to pay attention.

    • Marco

      We have to also ask, is chess considered a sport? Is sport defined as a physical activity or one with both mental and physical aspects, or is it purely physical? It’s an interesting question, but nuance is needed to define an activity a sport. For instance, kids throwing a ball in a yard is just kids messing around and having fun, but once rules and guidelines for conduct end up structuring the “throwing the ball around”, does it morph into a sport, or simply an extension of a fun activity. The idea I’m trying to get at is do we define a sport as merely physical activity, or does the setting and limiting of actions make an “activity” a sport.

    • I don’t believe eSports are sports at all.. For me sports are competitions which are 90% physical activity.

      Chess isn’t a sport either IMO.

      But then again I also don’t think Horse Racing is a sport and neither is motor racing. So if we are including those in Supersport channels then this is a perfect fit for eSports.

      eSports take a huge amount of skill, no doubt about that, but they aren’t sports.

      • miaau

        you lost me at Chess, then had me at motor racing.

        BUT F1 is so physically demanding, the drivers are easily amongst the most physically fit group of competitive event taker parters there are in the world.

        Actually, I do not give a crap. Competitiveness is the key thing here. We want to watch people do something we can sort of do, just not to their skill level, come up against other people of similar skills in a battle of the best. How many massive soccer fans would not mind a but of a game on with a few mates, round the weekend? Same with whatever the hell game they are playing in Poland.

      • Marco

        It would be interesting to map the brain during a Dota 2 game and then do the same sort of thing for an athlete or footballer in a match.

        Alternatively I just think the idea of sports needs to change or adapt. I don’t think the current definition of “sports” encompasses what happens in competitive gameplay, but I think it’s maybe a fault of scope. not something inherent in esports not being a sport. For example, work was for a long time considered manual labour or doing some sort of specialised craft, like engineering, farming, building rockets etc.

        In the modern era do we call software developers or software engineers “e-workers” or just simply see them as people working? How can we not consider esport, or essentially people using a computer to do something competitive, as not a sport? Do we consider people working using a computer not a real job?

    • Spathi

      Brandon, you fricken #@$%%@ and ##[email protected]% something something siblings and spouses @%$#@!!!! 😛

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    Awesome!

  • Guild

    Nice step by SuperSport and it is a place to start even though it’s highlights. Hopefully they’ll start broadcasting Live events and local ones soon

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