With 24-hour channel Ginx eSports TV arriving on Sky today, Reece Barrett asks whether it can help promote UK players and teams…
Ginx eSports TV has launched on Sky channel 470, after rebranding from Ginx TV which aired on Virgin Media channel 290.
It has launched with help from ITV and Sky – but can it help promote the UK eSports scene or will it focus on the bigger global events only?
On the face of it, perhaps not so much. Its schedule will include coverage of Turner’s ELeague tournament, Face It’s eSports Championship Series, and Valve’s The International Dota 2, which Ginx will be covering live from its new King’s Cross studio.
However, other content partners will include Riot, Activision, EGL, Gfinity and more. With the Gfinity Arena also in London, we could see some of its events being covered by the new channel.
Seeing as Sky is used by the majority of people in the UK, we can almost guarantee eSports will attract some new fan. It’s already been proved by people on Reddit that their families have enjoyed watching the ELeague coverage on TBS in America.
Should Ginx move to cover smaller tournaments, this will benefit lower tier teams and tournaments in the UK eSports scene, getting them exposure on the biggest TV platform in the UK. High profile tournaments will benefit too, as they’ll be able to attract more viewers on TV alongside the dedicated fans on Twitch.
When talking about helping UK eSports specifically, in my opinion this will benefit the scene big time. The fact that Ginx is a 24/7 channel means that it will likelybe looking to fill the time with tournaments and coverage on UK eSports events.
This will help more casual viewers who are discovering eSports via TV to learn about the UK scene, helping it to develop over a long period.
With Sky and ITV investing in a 24/7 eSports TV channel, it must show that they have belief that the eSports scene is growing and is a reliable source of income.
We already know that Ginx will be broadcasting some top events, as mentioned earlier.
How eSports is moving to TV
BBC was one of the first major broadcasters to cover eSports, when it provided live coverage of the League of Legends World Championship on BBC Three last year; providing game coverage, interviews and expert opinions.
The BBC brought in three game casters for the event – Leigh “Deman” Smith, James “Stress” O’Leary and Richard “Pulse” Kam; all of which are experienced casters in the League of Legends scene. It also had popular presenter Julia Hardy interviewing players and getting reaction during the quarter finals.
The BBC also aired the interesting Supergamers documentary earlier this year, following the lives of three UK eSports pros.
Elsewhere, ESL has announced its own TV channel is in the works, but there’s no word yet on whether it will launch in the UK or not.
BT Sport dived into the eSports scene back in February, where it covered The Formula E Race-Off and aired the event on BT Sport 1 and 2 on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Since then, BT hasn’t covered anymore eSports, but still provides some eSports news on its website.
Sky covered its first eSports event in March when it aired the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice CSGO tournament. Rather than airing it live, Sky aired the program at 10pm on the Monday after the event on Sky 2, where it provided highlights of exciting gameplay rather than a documentary-type program. They showed how exciting eSports can be in an event where the best teams battled it out.
Since then, Sky has covered more eSports events. It covered the FIFA Interactive World Cup in late March, providing viewers an option to watch it online and on Sky 1; showing that it believes eSports is good enough to go on one of their top channels.
In conclusion, the launch of a the UK’s first ever 24/7 TV channel – which is now launching to millions of viewers on the biggest TV platform in the UK – will definitely benefit both bigger and smaller UK eSports teams, tournaments and players due to being exposed to millions of both new and dedicated fans via Sky.
We can’t wait to see how it develops.
Reece is a sports journalist who has previously worked with the likes of BBC Radio Solent, Southern Daily Echo, Salisbury Radio, VAVEL and many more. He is currently studying a degree in Sports Journalism at Solent University.