Ladies and gentlemen, grab your controllers. Or at least a comfortable spot on the couch. A new video game league is in the works and will be broadcasted on primetime television in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. The two companies bringing the league to TBS are Turner Broadcasting System and WME/IMG.
Each tournament will last 20 weeks and the first season will pit competitors against each other while playing Vlave's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
While some media outlets are acting like this is a big surprise, we know better. Last year 11,000 jammed into Madison Square Garden to watch a “League of Legends” championship and ESPN had their “Heroes of the Dorm” video game tournament, not to mention the massive popularity of Twitch and video game YouTube channels. This new development just makes sense because the e-sports audience continues to grow.
To further prove this, remember that last year Amazon bought Twitch -- the online video channel to watch gamers in action -- for $970 million, and the fantasy sports site DraftKings has plans to add a feature where people can draft video game players in the same manner as drafting a fantasy football team. Most recently, YouTube Gaming was launched in a bid to compete with Twitch.
Fortune reports that a research firm estimates that the U.S. e-sports audience is currently 32 million people, and that number is expected to leap to 50 million in 2017. Not surprisingly, the firm estimates that the worldwide online gaming audience is 200 million strong.
So mock all you want, watching people play video games as a form of entertainment is here to stay.
Image credit: Flickr, Artubr