Valve has just announced that ESPN networks will be carrying the DOTA 2 International Championships, which just recently broke a $10 million prize pool. The International DOTA 2 Championships will be held in Seattle, Washington from July 18th to the 21st and will culminate in a final where the winners will walk away with nearly $5 million thanks to so many people buying Compendiums.
People wanting to watch the DOTA 2 International Championships on TV or online can do so using ESPN 3, and ESPN 2 for the final match. You can also access most of the matches and the final match on WatchESPN, ESPN’s streaming application which is available on smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
This means that eSports just gained another level of legitimacy that I don’t think very many people expected. Because Valve was able to bring Disney/ESPN onboard for the DOTA 2 International Championships, they are in effect making eSports one of the most legitimate forms of sport today. ESPN already had great success with the world cup and they clearly are recognizing an opportunity here to once again capitalize on a very excited audience and are doing so by announcing this the day before the DOTA 2 International Championships.
Hopefully ESPN will not be the only ones that will start broadcasting eSports on TV for people to watch and enjoy. I suspect that League of Legends from Riot Games may eventually get streamed/broadcast by someone like Fox or Turner Sports who all will want to get in on the eSports buzz and craze as they are some of the most loyal audiences and also have some incredible spending power, as shown by the DOTA 2 International Championships’ crowd funded prize pool of over $10 million. This is just the beginning and it will very likely only get more interesting very soon.