And the eSports boom continues.
According to a Variety report, Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG have joined forces to form a new eSports gaming league and are scheduled to air 20 live video-game events on TBS in 2016. The competitions will broadcast via 10 straight weeks of eSports programming, twice a year.
Turner and WME/IMG reportedly reached a deal with gaming developer Valve to feature its Counter Strike: Global Offensive title as the first game that will be used for head-to-head competition on TBS.
"This is a way to bring eSports to light and the 90 million homes TBS is in," Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, told Variety, adding that competitors will be playing for significant prize money.
Although announced Wednesday, this deal was actually about a year in the making with Turner and WME/IMG opting to start their own eSports league instead of joining an existing one. In April, ESPN2 aired Heroes of the Dorm, which had eSports gamers playing the game Heroes of the Storm.
Earlier this month, ESPN also posted a job opening, looking to hire a general eSports editor to oversee daily eSports coverage, signaling the Worldwide Leader in Sports' desire to become further entrenched in the growing industry.
"It's my firm belief that there are many e-sports fans who don't know they're eSports fans yet," Tobias Sherman, head of WME/IMG's eSports division, told Variety. "Hell, I was one. There's no doubt in our mind that this is a sport—these are athletes. It's competitive, and it requires endurance. What hasn't happened is that it hasn't been exposed to a mainstream audience."
That being said, data from the companies show that eSports' current estimated audience is already 32 million people. Safe to say, 32 million and counting...