ESPN might not think esports are sports, but it’s certainly doing everything it can to jump on the competitive gaming bandwagon.
This weekend, game developer Blizzard will host its annual convention-turned-esports festival, which will host competitions for the company’s blockbuster games, including StarCraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone. And all of the matches will broadcast on ESPN.
— ESPN3 (@ESPN3) November 6, 2014
Well, to be more precise, they’ll be shown on ESPN3, the company’s online network, while its main website will feature highlights from the games. The announcement means more eyes on esports and more options for fans, who can catch the action via the WatchESPN app.
It also marks the third time this year that esports events have featured on the prolific sports network’s online streaming platform. Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, The International, was the first to debut on ESPN3 this year, followed a few months later by the League of Legends World Championships.
In September, ESPN president John Skipper declared that sports weren’t “sports.” So while the entertainment titan clearly doesn’t see competitive gaming as part of its bread and butter, even it can’t ignore just how big the phenomenon has become.