Mail Online has closed its esports arm, but was a shining light to other mainstream publications

Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco writes an opinion piece on the Mail Online shuttering its esports content section and discusses mainstream coverage of competitive gaming.
It’s a sad day for mainstream coverage of esports: the Mail Online is letting its esports journalists go as it leaves behind coverage of our great industry.
If you’d have told me this a few years back, I wouldn’t have thought anything to do with the Mail closing up would be sad, but it is.
It is for several reasons. Firstly, the Mail Online is separate to the Daily Mail, and despite its political leanings or agendas or coverage of mainstream news, its esports section was a standalone area full of brilliant content.
Secondly, mainstream publications as a whole still aren’t covering esports as well as they could. Some reports are okay, I’d say some things have improved in recent years, but others haven’t. I still see biased writers with preconveived ideas trying to cover esports in a way that either demonises gaming in some way or undermines it, or simply reports inaccurately or unfairly.

“Mail Online had been a shining light in the often frustrating sphere of mainstream esports coverage”

Eurogamer recently carried out some great reporting on this topic with a mix of examples, found here and here. There’s also the likes of the BBC, which is so large with so many different departments, it means its coverage of esports is mixed – from BBC Three’s great League of Legends Worlds 2015 quarter-finals coverage in London to the downright nonsensical.
So it’s a real shame to see the Mail, who had been progressing well with its esports coverage over the past year or so since hiring its two esports writers, Jack Stewart and Matt Porter, leave this space behind.
It had been a shining light in the often frustrating sphere of mainstream esports coverage, and an example to other big newspapers on the market.
Jack explained that the closure had been due to tight budgets.

I know the Mail Online had some partners/sponsors for its esports section in the past, including Gfinity, so it’s disappointing a publication of its size failed to balance the books to keep the Mail Online’s esports page alive.
I don’t want to be a downer with this topic. The Mail showed other publications how to cover esports with passion, integrity and interest, and I’m sure the talented Jack and Matt will find other work in games/esports journalism no problem.
They always had an uphill battle dealing with public comments on the Mail’s brand and for that alone I salute them. And their hard work and perserverance rightly earnt them the trust of the community.

So I’m going to look back on the Mail’s foray into esports positively, and as its esports content grows old and outdated with time, I will still be sure to link to it as an example when other major publications ask how they should go about covering esports.
Nice work all. Now somebody give these guys a new home:

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