It’s a doozy of an edition of eSports Weekly for this week. The big story is that CS:GO is coming to cable television as early as 2016. This and much more, including some CS:GO roster changes and new developments from fantasy sports organizations, in this week’s eSports Weekly.
Turner Broadcasting Announces CS:GO League on TBS in 2016
The competitive CS:GO scene, and the eSports scene in general, is taking a huge step forward in the next year. Turner Broadcasting, the company in charge of popular cable channels TBS and TNT, have announced that they are bringing eSports and Counter-Strike to their TBS channel in the form of a competitive Counter-Strike league that will feature the world’s best teams across two ten-week periods. Turner and their partners, WME | IMG, a multimedia talent agency, will provide CS:GO coverage across a multitude of platforms, including a live fan experience, cable television coverage, and online digital media. In the press release by Time Warner, Turner’s parent company, Turner expresses the desire to turn Atlanta, GA into “the East Coast epicenter for eSports competitive gaming.”
When Counter-Strike fans think ‘televised eSports competition’, those who have been around longer than eight or so years can’t help but think of the Championship Gaming Series that was operated by DirecTV. The CGS only lasted for two seasons and was received very poorly. But Jason Lake, compLexity owner and long-time member of the community, posted on reddit that he and other owners had visited Turner Studios, and have high expectations going forward. Turner is no stranger to televising competitive events with high production values. Some of their best ratings on TNT and TBS come from their broadcasting of the MLB and NBA playoffs, as well as March Madness. If Lake is correct that Turner is taking esports seriously as a scene, this league could take CS:GO and eSports to a whole new level.
Turner’s ideal digital coverage will include “live daily competitive gaming content distributed Tuesday through Friday during each tournament week, as well as a live digital companion experience on Friday nights offered simultaneously with the TBS presentation.” This will also include behind-the-scenes features and coverage on the Bleacher Report mobile app.
eSports Attracts Attention from Sports Fantasy Sites
DraftKings announced earlier in the week that they are now sponsoring six premier eSports organizations across North America and Europe, according to the Daily Dot. The deals were brokered by the IMG talent agency, who are currently working with Turner Broadcasting in developing their televised eSports league. The organizations now partnered with DraftKings are Team SoloMid, Cloud 9, Counter Logic Gaming, SK Gaming, CompLexity, and mousesports. DraftKings will also feature fantasy League of Legends content starting on October 1st. Their “How to Play” page features a thorough rundown of how LoL fantasy works, and will feature advice from analysts and pros in their DraftKings playbook in the near future.
DraftKings isn’t alone in the pursuit of fantasy eSports though. The day after they announced their eSports sponsorships and fantasy content, fantasy sports site FanDuel announced that they had acquired eSports fantasy site AlphaDraft. Prior to FanDuel announcing the acquisition, former NBA commissioner and one of AlphaDraft’s primary investors David Stern revealed the purchase in an interview with Forbes. FanDuel said that they will be bringing in the AlphaDraft team so that they can work in-house with FanDuel, but it’s not yet clear whether AlphaDraft will be a part of the FanDuel site or remain as its own site.
CoD: Activision Announces Its Own Pro Call of Duty League, With $3 Million World Championship
Activision is following the road that Riot and Bungie have gone down with League of Legends and Halo, respectively, and will run and operate its own competitive league for their flagship shooter franchise, Call of Duty. The CoD World League, as it is called, will kick off in January of 2016, and will feature a Pro division and a Challenger division. The Pro division features the top teams from North America, Europe, and the Oceanic areas, while the Challenger division will feature the top amateur teams from outside those regions. The World League will culminate in Activision’s main event of the year, the World Championships, and this year’s version will feature an increased prize pool from $1 million to $3 million. Spots at the World Championship are earned through placement in World League events, and Challenger division teams can earn points toward qualifying as well. Finally, all World League events will strictly be played on the PS4 console. Sorry Xbox One players.
The only question that remains is how this league will coordinate and cooperate with their major competition. And by major, I mean Major League Gaming, who just wrapped up their pro league’s third season with FaZe Clan defeating OpTic Gaming 4-1 to take home first place. Will there be conflicts in scheduling events? There’s already some conflict as their respective rules on age requirement differ, so players that are eligible for some tournaments might not be eligible for the others. In a game with such a young crop of promising players, this is an important issue to monitor going forward.
- CS:GO: Titan announced the departure of Swiss player Maniac and the return of ScreaM to their roster. ScreaM left Titan in May of 2014 and joined Epsilon, and remained with Epsilon even after the organization received a one-year ban for match fixing. He landed in the new Team Kinguin roster, who were picked up by Gamers2 just twelve days before he rejoined Titan. Since then, Titan have qualified for the next DreamHack major in Cluj-Napoca, defeating SkyRed and HellRaisers in the ongoing DH Stockholm event. In an interview with Fragbite, ScreaM said that he expects more changes from G2, believing that NiP will be making some exchanges in the near future. Additionally, the Mythic roster have been acquired by Winterfox, an organization known for their League of Legends squad. This roster has previously played under the Luminosity Gaming banner before the ex-Keyd Stars roster was picked up by LG, as well as NetcodeGuides.com, but they left NetcodeGuides after the the iBUYPOWER match fixing scandal was brought to light, less than two weeks after Mythic was acquired.
- LoL: The visa issues that were preventing Xmithie from competing at the LoL World Championships have now been resolved, and he will now compete with the rest of the North American #1 seed Counter Logic Gaming at his usual jungler position. CLG will also join TSM at the IEM San Jose event, as announced by IEM earlier this week.
- Heroes: Cloud 9 defeated Tempo Storm by a score of 3-2 in a back-and-forth best of five series in the grand finals of the Americas championship for Heroes of the Storm. Despite the loss, Tempo Storm will still join C9 at the Heroes of the Storm World Championships in November. The Korean and Taiwan championships continue this weekend.