BBC to broadcast the League of Legends World Championships online

The BBC, is offering live coverage of an esports event for the very first time.

The U.K.’s national broadcaster, the BBC, is offering live coverage of an esports event for the very first time.

BBC Three, a digital channel that targets at a younger demographic, will produce an online broadcast of all four days of the League of Legends World Championships at Wembley.

The broadcast will be available on the online BBC Sport platform that is used for all major live sporting events. Coverage will include a dedicated host, an interviewer, and the commentary team of Leigh “Deman” Smith and James “Stress” O’Leary. The platform allows for live video alongside pre-recorded video, text commentary and statistics. The main stream will also be available on television via the red button digital service, commonly used for music festivals like Glastonbury.

The coverage will likely be aimed at a casual audience, with most hardcore and existing fans watching on the streaming site Twitch. Dota 2’s The International has seen some success producing a more accessible broadcast for newer fans over the last couple years.

Though some had hoped that the coverage would be broadcast on the BBC Three television channel, the online platform may allow esports to fit more neatly into the channel’s future. Starting next year, BBC Three will be coming off television and be repackaged as an online-only channel—esports could well be a great fit for the rebranded service.

BBC Three has a strong track record of investing in new shows and niche documentaries, with hits like Little Britain, Gavin and Stacey and Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood graduating to either BBC One or Two due to their success.

The potential audience, anyway, is huge: League of Legends will be available in 20 million homes—almost 80 percent of the U.K.

Image via Riot Games/Flickr

Speaking of Worlds, Bianca Danielle recaps the week 1 action below.