Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event. 


E-sports is making the big leap to mainstream cable.

Publisher Blizzard has announced that the Grand Finals of its collegiate tournament for online multiplayer arena battler Heroes of the Storm will air live on ESPN2. At 6:30 p.m. Pacific (9:30 p.m. Eastern) on Sunday, the final two teams in the “Heroes of the Dorm” tournament will face off against one another to win the top prize. This is an example of how e-sports games, like Heroes of the Storm, are establishing themselves as huge spectator events along the lines of traditional sports. Analysts predict that pro-gaming, with its advertising, ticket sales, and more, will make around $465 million by 2017.

The Heroes of the Dorm event’s final four, which Blizzard is calling the “Heroic Four” to avoid getting sued by the NCAA, will kick off their first match at around 2:30 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, with Arizona State taking on Boston College. At 4:30 p.m. Pacific, Illinois Urbana-Champaign faces Cal. Both of those matches will stream live on ESPN3.com, which is the sports network’s online-only “channel.” But after that second match, ESPN2 will pick up the action live as if it were a college basketball game.

This will give the millions of people who have ESPN2 the chance to tune in and watch a pro-gaming event at its best.

Event

The 2nd Annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit and GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2

January 25 – 27, 2022

Learn More

Heroes of the Storm’s college tournament marks one of the first times that an e-sports tournament has made it onto a platform as huge as ESPN2. Disney’s sports division has previously worked with developer Valve on airing its tournament The International for Dota 2 last year on ESPN3.com, but that only ever made it to ESPN2 in the form of a preview show for the finals.

This shows that ESPN is definitely interested in e-sports, which is a market that is growing as a rapid pace. Millions of young people — often in the key advertising demographic of 13-to-35-years-old men — regularly tune into watch livestreaming e-sports matches on sites like MLG.tv and Twitch.  And professional gaming could even dig into the NFL, MLB, and NBA over the next few decades as young people decide to stick with e-sports as they grow older.

ESPN likely knows that is a possibility, and it is establishing itself as an outlet to watch e-sports content despite recent comments from its president saying that games are not a sport. But even if he feels that way, he obviously sees the money potential by embracing this new market.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member