Gaming Goes Big Time As ESPN Agrees To Host $10 Million Dota 2 Championship

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News Posted: Fri, Jul 18 2014 10:18 AM
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.

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"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.
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AllenJun replied on Fri, Jul 18 2014 12:16 PM

I don't have cable, but I'm glad MOBA is becoming very popular. I wonder if they are hiring anyone new for the coverage because all the current people know are football and baseball. And they are interview Gabe. Yay! I personally like LoL better because its easier to get into.

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MTV doesnt plpay music videos, ESPN doesnt broadcast sports

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SLeverenz replied on Sat, Jul 19 2014 8:17 AM

espn 8 the ocho

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nfs3freak replied on Wed, Jul 23 2014 1:56 PM

People were not happy with this over the weekend. I think it's pretty silly that people who requent ESPN were so upset on DOTA 2 being news items.

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Adam Todd replied on Thu, Jul 24 2014 11:37 AM

Just read about this on a gaming site and I was appalled by all the negative reaction it got from other demographics, mainly the sports one. They were claiming that E-Sports isn't a sport and that ESPN shouldn't be covering any of this. 1st of all, E-Sports is getting more popular by the day and it's competitive nature is very similar to how athletic sports are. Now, I'm not saying pro gamers are athletic, I'm saying that they're competitive thinkers and strategists that a lot of non-athletic sports have. I mean the only reason I started playing poker is because I was watching the WSOP (World Series of Poker) every year on ESPN. No one said anything about that because the demographic that watched ESPN also played poker, but when a "World of Warcraft game" (ya, some sports fan that doesn't know what he's talking about because DOTA2 isn't WoW even though the original DOTA was based on a Warcraft 3 mod) says that it's pitiful that ESPN is covering crap like this, it's almost hypocritical. Just recently, Call of Duty: Ghosts was featured at the XGames in Austin and the gamers got XGames medals. I'm glad to see that ESPN is broadening their horizons and adding other sports and cultures to it's programming. More viewers = more ratings and the gaming demographic would love to start watching their favorite games be played on a network they barely watched.

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nfs3freak replied on Thu, Jul 24 2014 4:12 PM

People aren't readily accepting of esports and people who participate as athletes. It'll take time and more people to be involved. It's usually from lack of understanding, something that's growing and gaining popularity that is different than what people are used to seeing, and the negative stigma that gaming has in society. It's pretty lame but it'll definitely change over time.

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Drachen replied on Thu, Jul 24 2014 5:05 PM

I still don't get the negative reactions. Poker and racing are also seen as sports and nobody complains about that. Gaming takes a lot more than just sitting down and pressing buttons. Lots of micromanaging. I don't see why playing certain games competitively shouldn't be seen as a sport.

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nfs3freak replied on Thu, Jul 24 2014 6:12 PM

Those types of sports have been around for quite some time (gambling in any sense, racing - horse races, etc). Those sports also bring in a ton of money and gaming isn't known for it (even though those of us who follow it know there is quite the money in it). Think about what people describe as a gamer when you ask someone out in society: nerdy, pimple faced, glasses, overweight, the list goes on. Of course, this isn't even really true characteristic of the typical gamer nowadays but like in that list, those are not positive descriptions and to give media attention to something like this is viewed as negative and not worth the time.

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