FACEIT has just announced that the FACEIT 2018 Major Final will be broadcast by Sky Sports, one of the largest pay-per-view services in the UK.
Counter-Strike on Sky Sports
In an official statement, made earlier today, FACEIT announced to the world that they had forged a partnership with Sky Sports to broadcast the Finals of the FACEIT 2018 Major, which currently in its New Legends stage. The Finals will begin on 20 September and will run until 23 September, with a prize pool of $1,000,000 awaiting the best teams.
The inclusion of the FACEIT Major will mark the first time that Sky Sports has showcased CS:GO on their network and it is a major milestone for the eSports industry. In addition to the tournament itself, Sky Sports will air an exclusive hour-long documentary, detailing events prior to the conclusion of the Major, as well as, a highlights reel featuring the most exhilarating moments of the tournament.
Reportedly, Georgie Faulkner, Skysport’s Head of Multi Sports said:
“FACEIT Major is one of the world’s biggest esports events, and we’re delighted to be able to bring the London finals to a whole new audience. We’re no stranger to the world of esports, but this is the first time we have broadcast competitive CSGO and we can’t wait to get started. With a sold-out SEE Wembley Arena, and some of the biggest names in the game, we’re sure our viewers will love it.”
Many questions have been asked following Sky Sports coverage of esports, many suggesting that it could be related to esports gambling. Many traditional sportsbooks like Sky Bet and many esports betting sites have focussed on the rise of esports, could Sky Sports be showing their interset?
What this means for FACEIT and eSports as a whole
This is not the first time that eSports have been featured on a commercial mainstream network. Certain major networks have flirted with the idea of broadcasting eSports, notably ESPN has been quite actively pushing games like League of Legends, Dota 2 and Hearthstone, to name a few. However, eSports has not enjoyed the same popularity on traditional media as it does online. In fact, when they first started appearing on television certain viewers were confused about what they were being shown and why.
Despite this, eSports viewership has had a consistent growth since 2013 and its influence is felt across the world. With this new push from Sky Sports, we can expect eSports to become more popular in mainstream media. After all, this is the largest sports subscription network in the United Kingdom and Ireland and it certainly has the capacity to set new trends and move the market.
However, one also has to wonder whether eSports have a place on traditional television channels. It is precisely because the industry could not flourish on traditional media that it found a place on Internet streaming websites such as Twitch. As a result, the largest portion of the viewership, expected to reach 400 million people in the coming years, is already established on these streaming websites. By pushing this new product on television, eSports companies and their partners are likely trying to appeal to a new demographic that they cannot reach on Twitch. How that will go, only time will tell but if the recent stance of the Olympics Committee is any indication, eSports might have to drastically change to enter the wide mainstream.