Mickey and Mario are teaming up … kind of.
Disney XD, a channel focused on content for kids, announced a new show today called Clash of Karts: Mario Kart 8, which will team up young gamers with popular YouTube personalities like Strawburry 17 and AtomicMari in a one-hour, multiround Mario Kart 8 competition. The show will air on December 5 at 8 p.m. Pacific and Eastern. This is another example of esports making it mainstream, this time in a young market.
Esports attracts more than 15 million fans, according to video game industry research firm EEDAR, which observed the habits of 2,000 esports spectators and compared them against the demographics of those that participate in competitive gaming. The fact that Disney, a company known for latching onto successful trends that resonate with young audiences, is airing a show about competitive gaming gives us an idea of just how fast the esports market is growing.
Disney is combining the esports trend with popular YouTube stars, another growing sector of the entertainment world. These self-made broadcasters have grown to fame thanks to their YouTube channels, attracting a large following of young audiences thanks to their big personalities. They also play popular games, like Minecraft and League of Legends.
Esports have been on TV before, including ESPN2’s (another network that Disney owns) Heroes of the Dorm special, which featured Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. Of course, that network focuses on a slightly older audience than Disney XD.