As the popularity of the e-sports vertical surges, more and more media co.’s, broadcasters and networks are cashing in on the world of gaming. The latest is U.S. cable conglomerate Turner, which has partnered with WME | IMG and the Amazon-owned live-streamer Twitch in a multi-year partnership that will give Twitch the rights to distribute live-event coverage from Turner’s new e-sports brand, eLeague.
The first match will air on Twitch May 24. Regular broadcasts will air over the course of six weeks every Tuesday and Wednesday, with six games per day starting at noon. Every Thursday over that period, two best-of-three matches will air on eLeague’s Twitch channel. Full replays will also be available via Twitch for those who missed the matches.
“Turner and WME | IMG investing heavily in e-sports with eLeague is a great move in the right direction for the development of the industry,” said Kevin Lin, COO of Twitch, in a statement.
While e-sports still face an uphill battle when it comes to linear broadcast, Turner has recently begun broadcasting weekly e-sports programming on TBS on Friday nights. Through the partnership with Twitch, Turner will broadcast a companion show to the weekly e-sports program on Twitch to allow fans to follow the best-of-three matches more closely.
According to research from SuperData, an estimated 188 million people will watch an e-sports broadcast by the end of 2016, placing the current global market value for the genre at $910 million (up 19% from last year). Within the next three years, that value is expected to exceed $1 billion. E-sports are still most popular outside of North America, with just over one-third of the market in Asia.
Pictured: screenshot from the popular e-sports title, Star Craft 2.