Television! Most of us don’t watch it, preferring instead to stream shows to our devices and surf the cyberways on our hoverboards. But it’s hard to deny the olde worlde validation of seeing something you love appear on a noisebox you can’t even pause to go to the toilet.
Valve have given the ok to cable company Turner and sports agency WME/IMG to broadcast 20 live Counter-Strike: Global Offensive events on TBS over the course of next year.
The shows will constitute a brand new league - apparently the two companies had resources enough that they didn’t see the sense in partnering with an existing organisation - and be filmed across 10 weeks in front of a studio audience on the cable channel. The two companies picked Friday nights to leave room for pros to compete in other established tournaments over the weekends. The prize money, they tell Variety, will be “meaningful”.
The shows will be complemented online by competitive streams, running from Tuesday to Friday each tournament week
“This is a way to bring e-sports to light and the 90 million homes TBS is in,” said Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels.
These sort of affairs aren’t without their teething problems. Witness our Rob’s issues with cable restrictions, and the sports world’s reaction to Heroes of the Dorm on ESPN. But WME/IMG e-sports head Tobias Sherman believes that “there are many e-sports fans who don’t know they’re e-sports fans yet. Hell, I was one.”
“There’s no doubt in our mind that this is a sport,” added Daniels. “These are athletes... It’s competitive, and it requires endurance.”
When we talked to Minh ‘Gooseman’ Le about the making of Counter-Strike, he recalled how he “got a bit annoyed with the e-sports people” during development.
“They kept asking us to change the game, to add certain features, to make the game more balanced,” he said. “I was like - come on!”
Come on, coooome on. Come on, coooome on. Can Counter-Strike be a sport for traditional sports people?