New TBS eSports League Launched By Turner, WME IMG
A new eSports League created by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and partner WME, IMG is set to begin broadcasting in 2016. Imagine live competitive gaming morphing into the mainstream on TBS and online. This unique fan experience will be enhanced via a custom eSports Operations Center with advanced technology located here in Atlanta at Turner Studios, the East Coast epicenter for competitive gaming. The Sports Techie community blog and especially our Twitter handle @SportsTechieNET have been an eSports champion as we are for Turner Sports. The future of gaming has never been more digital, lucrative or fun.
Attracting millennial eyeballs, pocket books and loyalty is underway by corporations across the world. Turner Sports together with WME and IMG aims to capitalize on the popularity of eSports as a video game of skill through formation of a new league created for a new generation of under 35 American and global players and fans.
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Turner writes, “eSports is a term used to refer to organized, multiplayer video gaming competitions that are rapidly expanding in popularity on a global scale.” According to data provided by NewZoo, global eSports viewership counts over 226 million people with the total expected to rise to 323 million by 2018. Domestically, the eSports audience is currently 32 million people with anticipated growth to more than 50 million by 2017. Over half of adult eSports viewers are younger than 35 years old, based on a Superdata eSports Market Brief released earlier this year.
“eSports is one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios, and presenting the competitions in an innovative way throughout our portfolio of leading brands.”
Turner and WME – IMG eSports League
Turner Studios in Georgia will serve as new league and primary operations facility headquarters for the live gaming experience. A state-of-the-art facility specifically created at Turner Studios is to showcase live gaming competitions. ESports league business as well as the live event experience are to be managed together by Turner Broadcasting and WME | IMG.
Ten consecutive week of competitive gaming programming airs Friday night on TBS, twice per year, making it a ground-breaking business commitment to televise eSports.
Top video game publisher Valve Corporation’s popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was selected as the first season’s featured game.
“We are proud to establish a leadership position in this rapidly growing arena, which I see as a tent pole for the next chapter of TBS,” said Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT, chief creative officer for Turner. “The level of rabid fandom and engagement that we see in this world is extraordinary and we aim to up the experience for both the players and fans alike and provide a cutting-edge live experience on both linear and digital TBS platforms.”
Turner Sports and WME | IMG will produce the eSports competitions. Turner plans to implement events for all platforms including premium live fan experiences, televised coverage airing exclusively on TBS and extensive, high quality live digital event coverage and content extensions. The new league owners are also focused on securing ad sales and sponsorship opportunities surrounding the new league.
Expect digital coverage and distribution of live daily competitive gaming content every Tuesday through Friday per tournament week, in addition to an innovative live digital companion fan experience on Friday nights delivered as a TBS presentation simulcast. Additional digital content eSports fans can access include behind-the-scenes event coverage and profiles on the eSports teams and competitors. Supplemental eSports coverage can be found at Bleacher Report’s top-rated Team Stream App.
“The eSports environment is purpose-built for a generation that consumes content across multiple platforms and seeks unique live experiences,” said Mark Shapiro, chief content officer, WME | IMG. “We’re proud to be partnering with Turner to give competitive gaming a first-of-its-kind platform to meet the needs of the industry’s growing fan base and attract new audiences around the world.”
More details on the newly formed eSports league– including the schedule of competitive events, along with locations and programming information – will be announced later this year.
WME | IMG
WME | IMG is the global leader in entertainment, sports, events, media and fashion with deep expertise in the eSports world. The company’s eSports business operates as a full-service team management, marketing and representation firm in more than 25 countries with specialties in brand consulting, digital and live event management, marketing, and licensing. The company specializes in talent representation and management; brand strategy, activation and licensing; media production and distribution; and event management.
Additionally, the company is involved in more than 800 live events around the world each year and is the largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming in the world, distributing more than 32,000 hours each year from more than 200 organizations and events.
Turner Broadcasting System
TBS, TNT and truTV are part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
The addition of eSports competitive gaming is one of many live events set to air on TBS in early 2016.
The network’s Spring lineup will also feature the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four, including TBS’s first-ever telecast of the National Championship game.
TBS’s upcoming live event programming will also include iHeartRadio Music Awards, the first-ever Live Nation Music Awards – co-executive produced with IMG – in June and Turner Sports’ annual coverage of the Major League Baseball Postseason in MLB October.
Sports Techie, eSports is maturing at Xbox One or PlayStation 4 speed. The rapid pace of eSports as a competitive gaming environment is perfectly suited for millennials. What’s awesome about eSports is it can be played from anywhere in the world and you don’t have to be a professional level player or rapid fan to enjoy playing or watching the activity.
Some countries like South Korea have transcended gaming into a source of country pride. Being on the strongest team on the planet with the world’s best players are why certain youth and young adults play eSports, along with six to ten figure incomes.
Will Turner, WME and IMG recruit international superstars along with U.S. stars for the show? What progressive sponsors will jump onboard? Either way, be ready for their new and exciting eSports league community, app and website before play begins in 2016.
My two-year old son and youth across the nation are next gen, TV everywhere eSports players, viewers and fans.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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