Photo: Marv Watson
eSports is no longer considered an interesting trend. Competitive gaming is a lucrative enterprise with many big investments from advertisers and corporations. Expect more refinements to how competitive gaming is presented to a larger audience and perhaps a multi-million dollar endorsement deal could be in the cards for 2016.
Competitive gaming has aired on ESPN 3 and ESPN 2, but 2016 ups the ante with a new deal with TBS. “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” will be the first game featured in the first season of this new eSports league formed by the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and talent agency William Morris Endeavor and IMG. Each competitive gaming season will take place over 10 weeks with live events airing Friday nights on TBS.
Activision Blizzard announced its own eSports division that will be headed by former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein. Mike Sepso, co-founder and former president of Major League Gaming, will serve as senior vice president. Electronic Arts announced its own competitive gaming division. Coca-cola has invested heavily in eSports as has Red Bull. Tournaments with a total prize pool of $1 million or more are becoming more common.
Pro gamers have been bringing in big bucks in the past few years, along with hundreds of millions of viewers across the world.
The world’s best video game players have been playing championship matches in games like League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2 and various other games with prize pools well into the millions of dollars. The International Defence of the Ancients 2 Tournament recently gave away more than $25 million in prizes.