ESPN should be known for their open-minded approach to sport. They televise the annual hot dog eating competition on the 4th of July, they put poker on sporting TV, and they helped extreme sports like skateboarding and BMX get mainstream attention. Now, they are looking at eSports.
In June, X Games will be going to Austin for the latest ESPN tournament. There will be plenty of dirt bike and skateboarding action. MLG will also be there with the top eight Call of Duty: Ghosts teams. The eight teams will compete in a double-elimination format, with four teams advancing to a single-elimination bracket. At the end, the winning teams will be awarded X Games medals.
Tim Reed, senior director of content strategy for the X Games, explained:
It made sense from X Games’ perspective. The audiences are similar: youth, fun to play with, and they like music, sports and gaming. So it all kind of lines up with [the X Games] audience.
This is excellent news for eSports, not just in North America but also locally. If ESPN is successful linking eSports with extreme sports, what’s to stop that trend from catching on globally? South Africa has a fantastic surfing scene and plenty of extreme sports athletes – by combining their abilities to pull in an audience, the entire alternative sporting scene might see a real resurgence in popularity. I hope that we see this kind of collaboration grow in the future – the more exposure that eSports can get, the better it will be for the entire industry. Now to see if the people who show up to watch other guys skateboard will stick around for COD.
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Last Updated: April 29, 2014
Alien Emperor Trevor
April 29, 2014 at 11:41
April 29, 2014 at 11:46
If this were to happen in SA I think the MSSA would demand that it be done under their supervision which would likely lead to… well I’ll leave it up to your imaginations.
April 29, 2014 at 11:46
But wouldn’t they need to pay for the rights to broadcast eSports locally? And wouldn’t that money then have to go to our amazingly talented eSports body known as the MSSA?
April 29, 2014 at 11:50
Besides the potential involvement of the MSSA I think it’s a good thing and hope that it takes off.
Norm the Horrible
April 29, 2014 at 11:51
ESPN… (not) televised in Africa!
April 29, 2014 at 12:02
Too bad it’s MLG and COD.
But really, as someone who watches X-Games religiously and love me some SC and Quake action, I hate the idea.
Gaming is not an extreme sport. It should not share the same space with Skateboarding and Freestyle Motox. I don’t want to tune in to ESPN where, now we will pan from Bob Burnquist to some arb COD team. No thank you sir!