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.