Eleague aims to show that there are folks at the NBA who are bona fide esports fans and not just fans of its estimated $696 million of revenue in 2017. The final episode of the docuseries Road to The International Dota 2 Championships will star Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin as he attends Valve’s The International, the biggest Dota 2 event of the year. It will air on August 25 at 10 p.m. Pacific time on TBS.
The upcoming episode of Eleague’s series seems to be sending the message that traditional sports and esports aren’t all too different after all. Lin is a self-professed Dota fan, something that he’s showcased before when he endorsed the Dota 2 team VGJ. He also joined in the Series A funding of Plays.tv, an online platform that replays esports highlights.
A preview clip shows Lin walking through the Seattle Center’s KeyArena and chatting with fellow fans waiting in line. He draws comparisons between Dota and basketball, commenting on how he primarily enjoys team sports. He also gives a nod to professional esports players.
“I think to be a professional Dota player shows a tremendous love and passion for the game, because the majority of them aren’t winning this $10 million cash prize that the first place is going to get, right?” says Lin in the clip. “95-98 percent of them are never going to touch that and a lot of them aren’t even going to get to this tournament. So the fact that they’re training so hard to try to compete just shows how much they legitimately love the game.”
A survey by LEK Consulting showed that 40 percent of young Americans prefer esports to 42 percent who prefer traditional sports. The NBA has noticed, and it’s been making moves into the esports space. It started its own league and has been buying stakes in esports teams. On the other hand, Blizzard Entertainment’s new Overwatch League is mimicking the structure of traditional sports with city-based teams.
In addition to following Lin, the Road to The International Dota 2 Championships finale will show Team OG, one of the invited teams. Though OG didn’t make it to the finals (the winner this year was Team Liquid, who won against Newbee), they’re a competitive team who’s previously won tournaments such as DreamLeague at the yearly DreamHack esports event.