The International Will Be Shown on ESPN Channels
The International 2014 was going to be a milestone event in the future of eSports just based on the $10 million prize pool but I don’t think that we expected it to get so much attention. The eight-team playoff bracket, also known as The Main Event, will be broadcast on ESPN 3 with a preview of the Grand Finals on ESPN 2.
For those readers outside the United States (and our stats say a little under half of you are), ESPN is the top sports channel in America and one of the most powerful cable channels in America as it commands the largest carriage fees from cable providers.
For The International, the biggest event in eSports, to get on a major cable channel, even if only a Finals preview makes it to cable TV (ESPN 3 is a digital channel), is nothing short of a coup for the tournament. According to Richard Lewis of The Daily Dot, it was ESPN who approached Valve to broadcast The International. The network is looking to get into the eSports space as evidenced by the inclusion of an MLG Call of Duty: Ghosts tournament at X-Games: Austin in June.
This doesn’t change the current coverage plans for The International. You can still watch in-game on Dota TV or stream through the Dota 2 website or Twitch. What I’d like to know is which feed (or feeds) will be carried on ESPN 3. While you would imagine that the main feed would be the one carried, given that this broadcast would probably been seen by a less eSports savvy crowd (they’re probably watching on Twitch or in-game), it would make sense for the noob stream commentary to be carried on ESPN 3. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. Sunsfan and Purge are absolutely awesome on that feed.
The International 2014 Main Event playoffs starts today with the Grand Finals on Monday.