It was only a matter of time, really, until someone started broadcasting gaming as a sport. In fact, it has already happened. There are two seperate channels in South Korea, OnGameNet and MBCgame, that broadcast 24 hour a day gaming and feature anything from strategy to FPS games. Well, we wouldn’t want to be left behind would we? Of course not! That’s where DirecTV comes in.
At the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) announced that it will be running a gaming league, called the Championship Gaming Series, and it will be comprised of teams from all over the world competing cash and prizes amounting to over $1 million. Not only will this series be available in the U.S., but DirecTV is in final discussions with British Sky Broadcasting (NYSE: BSY) and STAR Asia , as well as other networks, to deliver the action to the rest of the world. Outside of just broadcast coverage, DirecTV has also partnered with IGN to provide web coverage as well. David Hill, President of DirecTV Entertainment, had this to say about the new gaming league:
“We couldn’t help but notice that gaming had actually become a sport. Not only in the way the gamers created teams to compete, but also in their conditioning and mind set and dedication while playing. So it wasn’t a quantum leap to then determine if it was becoming a sport, we should cover it like a sport. The reaction to our first production, the Championship Gaming Invitational, was little short of phenomenal, so it was a no-brainer to take this next logical step to create the series. We believe the combination of a world wide broadcast platform, coupled with forward thinking partners like Mountain Dew, will create a brand new sport which is truly universal. Championship Gaming Series has the potential to become the next soccer in terms of world wide appeal.”
Of course, whenever you broadcast something resembling a sporting event, you have to have commentators, which is where Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel comes in. Wendel, who became famous after winning several world championship events in the Cyberathlete Professional League, will be providing analysis and commentary for the games. “DIRECTV really understands the nature of gaming and has figured out how to turn the sport I love into something that gamers and non-gamers will enjoy on television,” said Wendel. “I can’t wait to take over the microphone and play such an important role in the evolution and expansion competitive video gaming.”
The Championship Gaming Series is due out this spring.