BBC to Stream eSports for the First Time
According to the BBC, the United Kingdom broadcaster will be streaming “highlights of the quarter-finals” on the BBC Three website. The quarterfinals will be held at The SSE Arena, Wembley; do not be confused with Wembley Stadium–home to the England national football team. The quarterfinals are taking place from Oct. 15-18.
Riot Games’ world championship quarterfinals will be hosted by BBC Radio 1’s very own DJ, Devin “Dev” Griffin; gamescasters James “Stress” O’Leary and Leigh “Deman” Smith, who will be providing commentary; and Live Presenter Julia Hardy, who will be providing live interviews with the teams and fans at the venue.
In a joint effort with BBC Sport, BBC Three will be using the online platform that was previously used for live sporting events, now for League of Legends eSports. Live gameplay footage and pre-recorded clips will be provided on the outlet along with “text, audio and social-network commentary,” as mentioned by the BBC.
With the UK having some of the most passionate and fanatical spectators within the world, as seen through football (soccer), cricket and rugby, it only seemed reasonable to chose the Wembley Arena as a primary destination and venue for the event. Thanks to the BBC, Digital Controller Damian Kavanagh believes that their outlet will bring eSports “to a wider audience.”
Developers Riot claim that approximately 27 million gamers play LoL daily. We’ve seen League of Legends become the world’s largest and most supported video game to date. Not only in general, but eSports-wise as well. The successful 2014 League of Legends World Championship capped a total of 27 million viewers, where over 40,000 fans filled the Seoul World Cup Stadium, also referred to as the Sangham Stadium, in South Korea last year.
I’m sure many British gaming enthusiasts are quite enthralled to see another type of world championship (or at least part of one) hosted within their nation. Kavanagh also stated that, “I think this is an exciting way to cover something millions of young Brits love, in a BBC Three way.” We’ve seen major events for the Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and FIFA franchises, but League of Legends is one that seems to have lacked within the UK. The ESL UK Premiership is about all that the UK get for offline majors.
With the BBC and its channels helping to bring eSports to the mainstream realm of the United Kingdom, we’ll begin to see more and more people take interest in what was once considered “just a game.” The future is competitive gaming whether you like it or not, and many companies like the BBC are realizing that. Let’s hope that many continue to follow.
Do you believe that eSports should be streamed on major broadcasting networks, or remain solely based on online broadcasting platforms like Twitch.tv? Let us know. Follow our Twitter – @eSportsNation for more coverage on the 2015 League of Legends World Championship.