Sportsnet has announced an exclusive deal with ESL, the world’s largest eSports league, to hold the exclusive rights to ESL’s esportsTV, the first global 24/7 esports television channel.
Launching this fall, esportsTV, which will feature livestreaming of professional video game tournaments, will be available exclusively in Canada on Sportsnet NOW. The premium streaming service is included in some Rogers TV packages or it can be purchased separately for $24.99/month.
In addition, starting in July, Sportsnet 360 will air a weekly esports news, highlights and analysis program. Rogers says more details will be revealed “at a later date.”
This deal with ESL makes Rogers the first telecommunications company in Canada to acquire exclusive rights to esports content.
“Sportsnet prides itself on being on the cutting edge of industry trends so we can continue to deliver premier sports experiences for our viewers,” said Jason Badal, senior director of business affairs at Sportsnet, in a press release. “Esports is on the cusp of becoming a global phenomenon and we are excited to bring this coveted content to Canadians.”
eSports has seen a massive growth in popularity in recent years. Fortune magazine estimates that the industry’s global revenue will reach nearly $2 billion USD by 2018, thanks to significant betting, sponsorships and advertising. Participating teams can sometimes win up to $9 million in prize money, depending on the competition, such as a Vancouver team who brought home $6.6 million in a Dota 2 tournament.
And earlier this year, game publishing giant Take-Two Interactive, which owns such massive properties as the 2K sports games and Grand Theft Auto series, announced a partnership with the NBA to form an exclusive basketball-centric eSports league.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons