ESPN is pumping the brakes on the eSports takeover. After airing the annual Heroes of the Dorm tournament for the past two years on ESPN2, the network has decided to broadcast the tournament exclusively on Facebook Live. The move was made following low ratings of previous tournaments, and passionate reactions from viewers who weren’t interested in the programming.
The decision is somewhat of surprise considering ESPN’s aggressive push into the eSports space. The network not only dedicated air time for the previous tournaments, but also dedicated a section on ESPN.com to eSports coverage.
While the move may call into question whether eSports events can draw a big enough audience on television, ESPN’s social media reach could end up helping the tournament generate higher interest. If you’re not familiar with the event, Heroes of the Dorm features teams from different American colleges competing against each other in the game Heroes of the Storm.
A press release distributed by Blizzard Entertainment, the game’s creator, spun the move as a positive, adding “For the first time ever, ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the ‘Heroes of the Storm’ Esports Facebook page, beginning with the regular season and continuing all the way through the Heroic Four and National Championship”. For more information visit their Facebook page by clicking here.
To learn more about the eSports phenomenon, check out eSports Economics: A Primer To The eSports Industry. It’s an excellent read.