TBS Forms Own Gaming League, Will Air Weekly Counter-Strike Matches
"What it's going to do is really propel the sport."
Joining ESPN, Turner Broadcasting has announced that it will air competitive gaming matches on TBS. Turner has partnered with WME/IMG to create its own esports league with events to be televised nationally every week on Friday evenings. The first year will focus on Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
As explained by The Hollywood Reporter, the league will be made up of two 10-week tournaments that will begin in 2016. Like traditional sports, this will include a regular season and playoffs, culminating in a championship match. The actual tournaments will take place at Turner Studios in Atlanta.
“I don't think there's been an investment at this level ever in this space," Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels said. "What it's going to do is really propel the sport. This is not just about TBS. This is about building a league from the beginning to the end and really remaking how people think about esports play, how they get involved, and how the stories are told."
On top of the televised matches every Friday evening, TBS will produce "competitive gaming content" Tuesday through Friday on digital platforms. Fans can also expect "companion content" during the actual weekly matches on Friday nights. In addition, TBS is tapping its Bleacher Report website to create "behind-the-scenes" event coverage, including player profiles and more.
WME/IMG is a huge talent agency that represents people like Lady Gaga and Peyton Manning, among many others. Earlier this year, the company acquired Global esports Management, a talent agency for competitive gamers. Head of the company's esports division, Tobias Sherman, said TBS is a good fit for gaming because their demographic--primarily males--is an "absolutely perfect" match for gaming.
They chose Counter-Strike as the first game to be broadcast because it's "really easy to digest" for people who have never watched competitive gaming before.
More details about the new TBS gaming league will be revealed later this year. We also don't know what teams will participate; presumably those details will come later.
TBS and its networks already cover traditional sports such as basketball and golf. The network is also home to Big Bang Theory, Family Guy,and Seinfeld reruns, among a whole host of other content.