Seeing the eSports explosion happen before its very eyes, the Worldwide Leader in Sports wanted in ... badly.
On Thursday, ESPN launched ESPN ESports, dedicated to competitive video gaming.
Gamers should have seen this coming, considering the sports conglomerate aired the Heroes of the Storm competition last year and provided coverage for the Hearthstone, Dota 2, and League of Legends tournaments.
The Los Angeles Times reports that ESPN has even hosted its own broadcasts on the gaming channel Twitch as well.
Although ESPN's exact plans in the eSports realm haven't been announced just yet, its mere involvement, presence and coverage of the booming industry certifies just how undeniable eSports have become in gaming culture and culture as a whole. They have to be covered just as aggressively as actual professional sports leagues.
ESPN senior writer and business reporter, Darren Rovell, even penned a full-length feature on the hysteria of eSports on that newly-launched website Thursday as well.
Within the piece, Rovell runs off numbers to back the industry's growth in the United States, including how the League of Legends World Championships sold out the Staples Center — home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers — in less than an hour in 2013 and how the Dota 2 International has sold out Seattle's Key Arena the past two years.
He also reported that League of Legends saw a max of 14 million online viewers during a final matchup, how top gamers have earned well past the $2 million mark and how former three-time NBA champion, Rick Fox, is aggressively trying to round out his Echo Fox franchise with the best gamers around in the landscape.
ESPN ESports' entry into the realm follow Amazon purchasing Twitch for almost $1 billion back in August 2014 and Turner Broadcasting collaborating with WME/IMG for its own eSports league, vowing to broadcast 20 live events on TBS this year.
Turner's eSports league even held its first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 live competition last week in Las Vegas.
Let the games begin and rage on.