Esports are gaining more traction every day, and Overwatch fans will be able to gaze upon their favorite first-person shooter on mainstream media soon enough.
TBS recently announced that it will broadcast the Overwatch Open Grand Finals later this year.
The Overwatch tournament, which brings a $300,000 prize pool, will be hosted by ELeague, a recently established esports organization. ELeague counts FaceIt, WME-IMG and Turner as founding members.
The majority of the fast-paced matches will happen on Twitch, with the finals being broadcast by both TBS and the internet streaming. With TBS's reach of more than 90 million homes, the broadcasting has all chances to be a commercial hit and an important moment in the history of esports.
In the official press release, ELeague says that the tournament starts on July 23, with only North America and Europe being part of it. Once the online qualification rounds are over, gamers will move into playoffs, which are scheduled to take place during the August 26 weekend.
The best eight teams belonging to each region get to enter the finals, with the top two competing for the big prize. The final showdown will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, at Turner Studios' ELeague Arena.
The team who wins the tournament gets a hefty $100,000 grand trophy, with the rest of $200,000 getting split among the rest of the finalists. The great final is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, so you might want to mark the date.
FaceIt's Chief Business Officer Michele Attisani is convinced that his media company has all the capabilities and knowledge to ensure that the contest is exciting for Overwatch's fans.
It is a bit of a surprise to see a game as recent as Overwatch land on a television channel so soon.
Previous examples of computer games getting airtime are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which airs its tournaments on TBS, and the Street Fighter V Evolution Grand Finals, which gamers were able to see on ESPN2. However, both titles have a long history and a consistent player base.
By comparison, Overwatch rolled out only two months ago, making its presence on mainstream TV a premiere. At the same time, the game went straight to the hearts of players and registered flamboyant success. With its more than 10 million players, it presents a wide selection pool for competitive teams to enter the face-off.
It is also plain to see that ELeague has a penchant for first-person shooters, as there is no word of MOBAs (massive online battle arena) getting airtime on Eleague. Keep in mind that the biggest rivals in the field, League of Legends and Dota 2, are the leaders in online viewership popularity.
Soon enough, we will know how Overwatch fares in comparison with CS:GO and Street Fighter V. As a reminder, ELeague's CS:GO premiere week scored a tad more than 500,000 viewers. During the ESPN2's Street Fighter V Evolution Grand Finals, about 200,000 people tuned in to watch the punchy action.
"We've been impressed with what Turner and WME-IMG and FaceIt have accomplished with Eleague," says Nate Nazer, Overwatch's global esports director.
We will keep you posted about the developments of the Overwatch tournament, so stay tuned.