For the last year or two, gaming has been touted as one of the largest and fastest-growing verticals in the online video space. Esports are similarly exploding, with arenas popping up in Southern California and London, Endemol Beyond’s ever-expanding international web series franchise “Legends of Gaming,” and last August’s League of Legends North American Championship, which sold out Madison Square Garden in minutes.
Now, the big media players are beginning to take notice. Today, Disney-owned ESPN.com announced today that it has launched a new esports vertical, sponsored by T-Mobile, that will provide comprehensive coverage the world of competitive gaming.
“Fans will find the same level of quality content and journalism that users of ESPN.com have come to expect, including in-depth looks at the competitive gaming world and on-site reporting from the major tournaments,” said Chad Millman, editor-in-chief of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, in a statement.
Joining ESPN to spearhead the new esports vertical will be editor Darin Kwilinski, most recently the managing editor of esports network Azubu, and writers Rod Breslau and Tyler Erzberger, formerly of the web sote theScore eSports.
In its first week, the site will feature news on the current and future state of esports, look-backs at the past season of multiple league championships from around the world and profiles on gamers who have influenced the rise of esports. It will also report on the opening of the North America League of Legends Championship Series on Jan. 16.
ESPN signaled its move into competitive gaming last May, when ESPN The Magazine debuted its first-ever “Esports Issue” featuring profiles on gaming stars including Faker, a behind-the-scenes look at MLG’s Dota 2 tournament and a cover story about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch creating his own Call of Duty character.