It’s official: ESPN covers esports now.
The Disney owned sports news powerhouse rolled out an official esports section on Thursday, marking ESPN’s biggest push into the growing-too-fast-to-ignore, damn-there’s-a-lot-of-money-in-this competitive gaming scene. Right now, ESPN’s esports portion of its website covers Blizzard’s digital card game Hearthstone, Riot Games’ crazy popular League of Legends, and Valve’s Dota 2, the championship tournament of which last year sported a prize pool of upwards of $18 million.
As the LA Times reports, it sounds like ESPN’s esports coverage will be pretty serious. Apart from dedicated stories and a whole section online, the company’s esports writers will be appearing on shows like Sports Center to talk about upcoming big tournaments and the like. It makes sense, given that esports is now a $500 million-a-year industry and only getting bigger, with tens of millions of viewers tuning in to championships for Dota 2 and League of Legends.
ESPN isn’t the only major new powerplayer, though. Call of Duty publisher Activision announced earlier this month it was purchasing the Major League Gaming, a major creator and streamer of gaming events. In Activision’s press release, CEO Bobby Kotick said the company was angling to create “the ESPN of esports.” Guess we can expect a Highlander-type battle on top of a mountain in a storm. Cue up the Queen.