Can e-sport leagues survive outside of online streaming?
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has announced that they are developing a “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” e-sports league that will air on television in 2016.
Almost every e-sports league exclusively airs online, but TBS has made the bold decision to bring “Counter-Strike” to their network. The league will have two seasons each year that will last 10 weeks per season. Rather than airing a league that already exists, TBS thought it would be best to start their own. An official league name or start date has yet to be announced, but Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels has shown his enthusiasm for this new project.
“E-sports is one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world,” said Daniels. “We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios.”
Can TBS successfully bring a predominantly online event to television? In 2007, DirecTV created their own televised e-sports league that hosted games like “Counter-Strike: Source” and “FIFA ‘07” called Championship Gaming Series (CGS). The project generated interest at first, but it only lasted two seasons before it was shut down. Some believe the problem was that the league split the “Counter-Strike” community apart by trying to cater to both new and veteran viewers, but the CGS team thought it was because the community wasn’t big enough yet.
“While the concept was ahead of its time and we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished, it became increasingly clear as this ambitious project evolved, that profitability was too far in the future for us to sustain operations in the interim,” said the CGS team on their website.
It’s possible that CGS was ahead of its time since e-sports didn’t gain a large following until 2011 when the videogame streaming service Twitch.tv was created. There are now millions of fans that watch e-sports, so TBS may find this project to be successful, with the potential to last longer than DirecTV’s former league.
TBS plans on bringing in some of the best “Counter-Strike” players from around the world to join their league, rather than just use U.S. gamers. The network has recently stated that they won’t hold “Counter-Strike” teams to contracts that would prevent them from joining another league, which might draw in some of the e-sport’s most popular players.
Will the televised league draw in the “Counter-Strike” community, or will it end the same as DirecTV’s league? Which popular “Counter-Strike” players are likely to join the TBS league? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.