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BBC Three’s Historic Announcement is Only Good for eSports

28 July 2017 14:57

Have you heard?

That’s right… the news.

What news?

The new Premier League season may be starting soon, yes, we may be in the full swing of an English cricketing summer, okay, but there’s something eclipsing all of that in our industry.

Think of eSports, and the gaming strongholds come to the forefront of your mind – the likes of Asia, USA and so on. The shining lights of League of Legends and Dota 2 sparkle brighter than most, two of the highest-earning, most-played games out there.

Yet, ten years ago, eSports was in its infancy as much as Facebook and Twitter. Not a tale from rag to riches, here, but eSports is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing sports around and continues to expand at an exceedingly rapid rate.   

Here in the UK, the COD CWL was held in Sheffield in June, football clubs Manchester City and West Ham United have been busy signing professional FIFA players, and McLaren were on the lookout for an Official eSports Simulator Driver back in May.

Now BBC Three has announced an historic partnership with Gfinity, signing a deal to broadcast the Gfinity Elite League Series One in four-hour stints over the next six weeks, starting this evening (28th July). Featuring Street Fighter, Counter Strike and Rocket League, the online service will show a total of 24 hours of live eSports action, sure to whet the appetite of millions of fans throughout these isles.

Street Fighter followers should mark Friday evenings into their diaries from 8:45pm, CS:GO fanatics can watch all the action unfold on Saturdays between 9pm and 11pm, and Rocket League fans – tune in on Sundays at 5pm.

The league will see a total 160 professional gamers from an array of eSports teams scrap for a £225,000 prize pool at London’s Gfinity Arena, parading through a player tunnel to take their seats and let battle commence. An overall franchise winner and three individual game champions will all be crowned at the end of proceedings.

Look out for Team EnVyUs, Team Infused and Method - very much heavyweights in their chosen fields. Teams have been required to draft some players from the Challenger Series for the league – Elite’s feeder competition – and it’s pleasing to see less-experienced players and teams getting the opportunity to display their gaming talents on such a stage.

So, there’s an action-packed, gaming-fuelled sporting extravaganza to come over the next six weeks, three consecutive days at a time.

What Does This Mean for eSports?

eSports resonates with a wide demographic from serious gaming fans to casual players, and a nationally government-run TV provider picking up the rights to broadcast this tournament is a huge stepping stone for UK-based eSports. The broadcast should inspire a younger audience, the next generation of gamers, to pick up their pads and follow in the footsteps of their idols.

BBC Three did show the LoL World Championship quarter-finals back in 2015, yes, but this arguably takes things to another level. As well as providing live action, the BBC has also been granted access away from the stage and will be providing exclusive behind-the-scenes content with the players and teams, something that does not happen on your usual streams on Twitch or YouTube.

This announcement will only benefit eSports, and the coverage and exposure off the back of this will hopefully catapult the gaming industry up another level throughout the UK. The audience don’t have long to go until all the action kicks off, and from the south of England up to the north of Scotland, stretching over Wales and across to Northern Ireland, they can expect a feast of quality eSports gaming over the next six weeks thanks to BBC Three and Gfinity.

160 gamers, it’s over to you.

Pulished on:
Updated on: 2017-07-28

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