Counter-Strike Tournaments To Be Shown On TBS

American media conglomerate Turner Broadcasting and talent agency WME/IMG plans to show 20 live Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site] events on US television next year as part of a league series after brokering a successful deal with Valve.

According to Variety, Turner’s cable channel TBS (home of ‘Clueless Gamer’/talk show host Conan O’Brien) will host the events in front of a studio audience, aired live on Friday nights at some point in 2016. There’ll be 20 events all told which will be split into two blocks of ten, running week-to-week.

Furthermore, the as yet unnamed league will broadcast competitive matches online out-with the allotted TV time, and will run team profiles and other bits and bobs for fans to soak up behind the scenes. The overarching aim, says Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels, is to bring esports to the tellys of the 90 million American homes that have Turner installed. He may or may not have used the word telly.

Tobias Sherman, the head of WME/IMG’s esports division told Variety: “It’s my firm belief that there are many eSports fans who don’t know they’re eSports fans yet. Hell, I was one.”

Whilst I think it’s great this initiative will introduce plenty of newcomers who’ve never bothered with esports up to now, I wish a different game was championing the series. I’d have much preferred to see Dota 2, or any other game with an isometric top-down view – where it’s easier to see what’s actually going on.

An interesting tid-bit of Counter-Strike esports information is that Minh “Gooseman” Le, one of Counter-Strike’s founding fathers, now of Rust, thought esports would be a passing fad Way Back When during Counter-Strike’s early days.

“When we were developing Counter-Strike I got a bit annoyed with the esports people,” Le told PCGamesN in a recent interview. “They kept asking us to change the game, to add certain features, to make the game more balanced. I was like – come on!”

I can just see him now, settling down for the night. Cuppa and a biscuit. Dressing gown and slippers. Popcorn and esports live. Sorted.

20 Comments

  1. Silent_Thunder says:

    Makes sense, this is a channel that made it’s name through getting their hands into newer forms of entertainment. They made their way during the Pro Wrestling Boom when it moved from local federations to national televised events (to the point where their wrestling program was once the most watched show on cable period), so seeing them attempt to branch out again in a similar fashion is right up their alley.

    • Silent_Thunder says:

      Also for those across the pond, TBS has 86% coverage as far as cable connected homes, so it’s one of the bigger channels.

      • SaintAn says:

        Well it’s not really big since most of their shows are reruns from other networks and not many people actually watch that channel if they have cable. It’s actually the worst channel on TV, which is why Conan is there now after he burned his bridges in his fit a few years ago.

  2. ThePixelPirate says:

    Love the nostalgic touch of this article. Even the teaser image is completely outdated. You should use original SC1 and Dota1 images for current tournaments and events as well ;)

  3. cbn says:

    idk, despite the occasionally disorienting perspective changes of CS (though it seems not use a low sensitivity so it’s not like it’s Quake) it’s far more immediately apparent to the viewer what is going on. Shoot the mans, plant the bombs.

    Dota 2’s camera is nice and fixed perspective but the combat is pretty difficult to parse (I would say incomprehensible) for the casual viewer. You can explain lanes and strategies etc. but when it comes to the big plays and spectacle of battle it’s a complete mess to a non-player.

    • cbn says:

      s/not/most

    • Ringwraith says:

      Yeah, it’ll jump around more, and it’s that sort of thing I’d say FPS games aren’t the best spectator sports because of that element, although the game itself is far easier to understand who is doing well than Dotes or any of its ilk. Being a best of 30 rounds helps, and the economy mostly restricted to “how big are their guns, and how much spare cash do they have”.

  4. MultiVaC says:

    It had better not interfere with the Seinfeld reruns.

  5. Big Murray says:

    Nonono, not live. Don’t do it live. Gaming tournaments have been crying out for some good television representation and you need some good polished production which shows it off at its best and most exciting. We need properly edited replays and some proper analysis from pundits with on-screen graphics to make the layperson understand the strategy of what’s going on.

    Watching games/sports on TV only works most of the time if the coverage is making you feel as if you understand what’s going on to the extent that you feel like an armchair expert. It needs to induce the “THROW THE BALL!” yelling feeling. Doing it live the first time out is enormously ambitious when there’s no precedent for the sport being on TV before.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Well said. That’s an interesting concern. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but yes, I think you are on to something.

      Having people watch once for the novelty is nice, but to keep them watching you need to make the game something to which they can relate. And to do that, they need to understand the game mechanically and enjoy the presentation.

    • werbliben says:

      I’m no expert (armchair or of any other sort), but I suspect that this concern has occurred to them as well and it might’ve been part of the reason they opted for an FPS and not a MOBA.

      Though both genres are filled with intricate strategies that casual players, let alone people watching the game for the first time ever, don’t understand, Counter-Strike is quite easy to grasp on a basic level. You can explain the basic premise to a non-gamer in around 10 seconds; they will not suffer from not knowing the precise abilities of 100+ heroes and, the way I see it, will be able to yell “OH MY GOD TURN AROUND HE’S COMING FROM BEHIND”, live game or not.

  6. Lionmaruu says:

    I do hate mobas and even if I played hundreds of hours of starcraft/II I cant watch their tournament, CS and street fighter tournaments seems more palatable.
    I guess the problem is that there is too much shit going on screen at any time on those games, it is hard to keep you invested in what is actually happening.

    Just like all sports have one point to focus, mainly in the “ball” games that want to actually be mainstream enough to warrant tv time have to make it fun to watch more than just to play.

    fighting games like street fighter is not different from watching pro fight, just more awesome.
    And CS is a genre famous enough and makes a good job at letting the spectator see the whole field and other information that makes it worth watching even if couldnt kill one of those guys from behind in the actual game.

    on both cases the actual fans of the genre will know more about the sport than the casual spectator but it will be easier to follow up.

    games like moba and strategy may be great for the ones playing it, but as a sport for mass entertainment they totally fail.

  7. ludde says:

    We’ve had live Counter-Strike broadcasts on Swedish public service for a while and it’s pretty good.

    Even as someone that’s never played CS at all, it’s pretty much immediately understandable what’s going on, whereas something as convoluted as a MOBA would require a lot more knowledge to be entertaining.

    The games have been pretty good as well, often swinging back and forth coming down to the last few rounds.

  8. bampot17 says:

    Live broadcasts can be fine if it’s well enough planned out and contingency for hardware and software issues are in place, the critical thing for them to get right will be the casting and analysis team, someone that can explain the game to first time viewers without alienating established fans by dumbing it down. I agree it’s a far more accessible e sport for the unitiated than any of the mobas and will be interesting to see if it takes off or helps to grow the cs go scene and prize money to the levels it deserves to push the sport on further.

  9. ButteringSundays says:

    Not gonna work.

    The only broadcast game I’ve watched that hasn’t felt like a lets-play or that annoying 10 minutes in which you wait for your friend to complete their turn is Rocket League – and that’s because it’s the only game I know of that so closely mimicks real sport.

    FPS’s as competitive gaming? I get that. As a televised event for non-gamers? Not on your nellie.

    If there’s no market for televised paintball, then I’m not sure why anyone would think there would be for a digitised version, in which you don’t even have the physical aspect of the challenge. You’re just clicking on things as quickly as you can. That’s not a sport.

  10. tonicer says:

    If it wasn’t that abomination which is known as CS:GO or as CS veterans like to call it “pay for weaponskins game 2015” i would watch that. CS1.6 & CS:S are the only real CS games.