Announcing a partnership with the international drone racing association (IDRA) on Wednesday, ESPN is looking to stream drone races online starting off in August with the US National Drone Racing Championship in New York. Streamed via ESPN3 live, the footage will then be edited to a one-hour special to be streamed on one of ESPNS’s TV channels.
Unlike with other sports, drone racing can be viewed from two perspectives, both the view following the drone and the view that its pilot gets to see, provided via a first person camera mounted on the front. With ESPN also carrying the 2016 World Drone Racing Champion in Hawaii in October, ESPN accredited this uptake to the “unprecedented rise in popularity” of the event, even saying it may go alongside NASCAR and Formula 1 as the “next behemoth racing sport”.
With drone racing having its first champion courtesy of the Drone Prix that was hosted in Dubai earlier this year, drone racing contests are appearing all around the world as people look to race their drones and show off their skills as the next generation of racers!
ESPN President John Skipper was asked about the recent Twitch acquisition by Amazon, as well as the general rise of eSports and the gaming scene, his reply will no doubt shock to the wider gaming community.
“It’s not a sport — it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition….Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports,” he said, according to Re/code.
His words make no sense to me, I’m personally not fussed about eSports, I’d rather play a game than watch it, but there are millions of others who will happily fill an arena to see the DOTA II finals, and I think that is freaking awesome! I’ve never been much of a sports fan, but I see no difference from 50,000 people sitting and watching Star Craft II as there is people watching a snooker final. Both look like sports to me.
ESPN recently partnered with DOTA 2 to broadcast a preshow for The International on ESPN2, so for John to say this isn’t a sport, why on earth are they showing it on sports TV? With services such as Twitch and countless other streaming services, gaming events and everything else, I don’t know what benefit something like ESPN has for eSports anyway.
Why do you think Skipper is being so dismissive? Surely it would be within his interests to promote eSports as a fully fledged sporting event.
Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – eSports is becoming mainstream. Whether you agree with video games being classified as a ‘real sport’ or not, there is no denying that through recent developments in the eSports scene, it’s becoming something very big and very real.
We reported recently of Valve’s Dota 2 international tournament being aired on ESPN which was only fitting given it’s massive 10 million dollar prize purse. But now eSports has reached another pinnacle – Dota 2 finds its way to the front page of the New York Times.
The story reported covers the rise of eSports and marks the beginning of a series detailing how computer games are being developed into a serious spectator sport.
Alongside Twitch.tv being recently purchased by Amazon for $970 million, ESPN airing The International finals on cable television and the amazing numbers that video game sales are generating today, we’re extremely keen to see where eSports is headed next.
Do you classify eSports as a real sport? What would change your view?