The world’s largest eSports company is taking their live competitive gaming channel to PlayStation Vue. But it’s not coming cheap.
In an attempt to take competitive video gaming to a broader audience, ESL (Electronic Sports League) developed a 24/7 television network with nothing but eSports content. The channel, eSports TV, launched in Europe last year, and quickly found an impressive following in 5 million European homes.
Now, that channel is available to PlayStation Vue users, making it America’s first 24 hours network dedicated to competitive gaming. Unfortunately, it’s only available to PlayStation Vue Elite subscribers, who have to pony up $54.99 a month for that plan, and Ultra subscribers, who shell out $75.
ESL hasn’t confirmed a launch date for the network, but the channel should launch just in time for the beginning of the Intel Extreme Masters tour – IEM Sydney on May 4.
So why an entire channel devoted to nothing but competitive video gaming? If you believe Activate Inc., there’s a massive potential audience. By 2020 they say, eSports will account for 10% of all US sports viewing. That means there could be more people watching the League of Legends finals than the NBA Finals.
“EsportsTV is the perfect complement to the PlayStation Vue offering,” said ESL executive chairman Steven Roberts, “and represents just another step for eSports as a form of mainstream entertainment.”
This channel could end up being a tough sell for fans, though. Since major ESL events are often broadcast live on Twitch and YouTube, it’s tough to imagine that fans will subscribe to Vue or upgrade their Vue package just for this channel. But if an eSports fan just happens to have the right Vue package, it’s easy to see them tuning in.
Of course, even if the channel does only appeal to the most hardcore of fans, this is still a nice addition to Vue service, and a natural fit on the surface.