TBS has announced that it will broadcast video gaming competitions on Friday nights next year. The initial season will focus on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Rather than televise an existing e-sports league, TBS is starting its own league in partnership with WME/IMG, a sports and entertainment talent agency. TBS has already committed to two 10-week seasons next year, though it hasn’t yet confirmed if the second season will feature a different game to the first.
The events will take place in a purpose-built set in Atlanta with a weekly schedule of preliminary games shown online, concluding in the live TB broadcast on Friday.
According to TBS, the production will be of the same standard as its baseball and basketball broadcasts, though it hasn’t said if it will use the same sports production staff for the gaming shows.
It’s not the first such coverage: several networks, including USA, had similar shows in the mid-2000s but ratings were judged insufficient. TBS appears to believe times have changed, with management reportedly inspired by the $970 purchase of games streaming broadcaster Twitch by Amazon last year and a series of hugely successful arena events including the League of Legends championship series selling out Madison Square Garden last month.