Street Fighter V is coming to basic cable.
ESPN2 is going to air the finals of the Street Fighter V World Championship live from the EVO 2016 fighting-game tournament at 7 p.m Pacific time (10 p.m. Eastern) on July 17 in Las Vegas. Publisher Capcom announced the television event on the official Street Fighter YouTube and Facebook accounts. Evo is a three-day event starting July 15 that features a number of massive tournaments for beloved fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros., and Mortal Kombat X. ESPN is only planning to air the last rounds of the newest Street Fighter game, which is typically considered the top discipline among the fighting-game community. This is another big push for the $748 milllion esports into the realm of traditional media.
Competitive gaming is not anything new for ESPN. The network, which is best known for its coverage of traditional athletics like football and baseball, has featured games like poker and chess for years. Now, in recent months, it has invested heavily in esports with a team dedicated to coverage of pro scenes like Street Fighter V, for example. That comes despite some former talent, like radio host Colin Cowherd, complaining about the idea of video games on ESPN after the network broadcasted popular multiplayer online arena battlers Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm.
You can catch the promotional video for the Street Fighter V tournament on ESPN 2 (in a 30-second spot that will air on TV) right here:
“The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals,” ESPN digital media boss John Lasker said. “We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this exciting event to fans.”
Evo is already growing in terms of popularity every year. Tournament boss Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar expects both in-person attendance and online viewership to set new records this year, and this network partnership will only make it even larger.
“Evo is ecstatic to be able to have a wider audience share in the energy and excitement of our Street Fighter world finals,” Evo CEO Cuellar said.
And if you’re thinking that you won’t share in that because you don’t understand fighting games, chances are that Street Fighter V and the Evo presentation will surprise you. We’re now 12 years on from one of the most immortal moments in competitive-gaming history when Street Fighter pro Daigo Umehara performed an astounding, unbelievable maneuver with almost no health to come back and win.
Watch — and listen — to this clip and try not to get hype as hell: