Dota 2, a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game
, has caught the attention of ESPN
, which is planning to cover The International Dota 2 Championships. ESPN will air the tournament on its live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3, and is also planning an exclusive show previewing the final match on ESPN2 on Sunday at 8:30 pm Pacific (you can also catch it on digital platforms via WatchESPN).
This is the next best thing to attending the tournament in person at KeyArena in Seattle, which is no longer an option since it's already sold out. The prize pool for the Dota 2 is over $10 million, the largest ever for a competitive gaming tournament, and likely a motivating factor for ESPN to add it to its sports coverage.
"From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year's International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports," said Erik Johnson of Valve. "We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago."
There's lots of coverage on tap that goes beyond the in-game battles. For example, viewers on Sunday can tune into ESPN2 for a preview of the final match, as mentioned above, as well as catch highlights, expert analysis, interviews with players, and an interview with Valve's Gabe Newell
This year's tournament also represents a massive increase in the prize pool. In 2013, the total sat at $2.8 million compared to more than $10 million this time around.