Following in the footsteps of Sky, the BBC has announced it will be bringing live eSports coverage to viewers every weekend for the next six weeks on BBC Three (which as you may recall, is now an online channel).
There will be four hours of live action broadcast every weekend, thanks to a deal to cover the Gfinity Elite League Series One, a new league which features pro gamers duelling it out on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter and Rocket League.
Starting this Friday night we’ll see bouts of Street Fighter V combat from 8.45pm onwards, with Counter-Strike taking centre stage on Saturday (starting at 9pm), and there are Rocket League matches on Sunday (kicking off at the earlier time of 5pm).
The league involves 160 professional gamers (drawn from eight eSports franchises) who will compete live in front of a crowd in London, with prize money of £225,000 up for grabs.
The league has already been underway for four weeks, with the Beeb set to cover the last six weeks, and at the end of it all, three individual game champions will be declared, as well as the overall winning eSports franchise.
As the BBC notes in its announcement, Team Infused (a UK team that’s been going for longer than a decade) is doing well and it’s definitely an outfit to watch, as is Street Fighter expert JeSTeR PoWeR from Endpoint, who remains unbeaten when it comes to virtual combat.
You can take in all the action via the BBC Three website or iPlayer. If you’re not sure of the various ways you can watch BBC Three online these days, check out our guide here.
Sky began covering eSports last year when it broadcast highlights of the prestigious Intel Extreme Masters tournament on Sky 2 in the spring. And all this goes to prove just how eSports coverage is clearly gaining a good deal of momentum, which is great news for those of us who like to watch the pros play (not to mention gawk at how much they get paid).