With the explosion in popularity of eSports viewership worldwide, people have been wondering if eSports will make the jump to TV. We’ve seen ESPN take an interest in major eSports competitions of late with broadcasts of The International and Heroes of the Dorm on ESPN2 with the League of Legends World Championship streamed on ESPN3 along with a newly-founded eSports news division.
Now, a report from PVP Live suggests that ESPN’s presence in the eSports community could expand. They’re reporting that Riot Games and ESPN have been talking about a TV broadcast deal for LCS.
Big, big weekend in eSports this week. It’s an IEM weekend which is usually a big deal but this weekend is the annual IEM World Championships from Katowice, Poland. It’s the one eSports event that I would strongly consider hopping on a plane for. Well, mostly because I’ve never been to Eastern Europe and I understand Poland is a lovely part of the world.
Anyway, the annual IEM World Championship features League of Legends and CS:GO events along with supporting mini-tournaments for Hearthstone and HOTS. They’ve also partnered with Blizzard to bring the WCS Winter Championship to Katowice which marks the first major stop on the road to BlizzCon.
If none of that strikes your fancy, the second Dota 2 Major Championship, the Shanghai Major, is currently going through its playoffs with the grand final on Sunday. I would assume that the winner of this tournament will spent July in Seattle for The International so there’s more than the $1.1 million winner’s purse on the line.
As much as I love playing support on Summoner’s Rift, I love playing support on the Howling Abyss and Crystal Scar. While the supports have a very defined role in 5v5 League of Legends play, a well-played support can really mess up plans in the other game modes.
Sadly, your time on the Crystal Scar is coming to an end. Riot has announced that on February 22nd, they will be disabling the Dominion game mode and removing Crystal Scar from the custom games menu.
I’m not sure I could have picked a worse week to get back into the eSports weekend calendar. LPL is taking a short break so it’s a light schedule on the League of Legends front. Dota 2 is mostly qualifiers and small regional events. SC2 is all qualifiers. At least CS:GO and Hearthstone have a couple of big tournaments this weekend.
There’s a whole lotta eSports going on this weekend. Chief among the action are the two big MOBAs. Over in Dota 2, the jointly produced StarLadder Star Series and IMBAtv i-League season comes to an end with their playoffs and some top teams still in contention. Meanwhile, League of Legends starts league play this weekend worldwide. All five of the big leagues have games over the weekend so we can see who gets off to a hot start.
Elsewhere, there is various StarCraft action in Korea. The Heroes of the Storm Gold Series continues group play ahead of next weekend’s playoffs. And CS:GO has their first January Minor event in the Americas. That doesn’t sound too impressive but it’s worth $30,000 to the winner and an invite to the final eight qualifier for February’s MLG Columbus Major.
There are a few events happening this weekend to give some of your favourite eSports stars a couple of extra dollars in spending money right before Christmas. The stars of League of Legends are split between China and Germany. The big teams are in Cologne for a stop on the Intel Extreme Masters tour while China plays host to World Cyber Arena. Also at WCA are Hearthstone and Dota 2 which isn’t listed below because I can’t find times for anything beyond the group stage.
My focus will be on StarCraft II this weekend. The semi-annual HomeStory Cup is taking place this weekend. I believe that this one will be the first HSC from Take’s new studio rather than his apartment. Hopefully this won’t change the atmosphere of the event. HomeStory Cup is my favourite tournament series in SC2.
If you’re looking something to watch on Twitch this weekend and are in the Americas, this is a good weekend for you. Dota 2’s The Summit 4 wraps up this weekend with the eight-team playoff. ESL and ESEA conclude their CS:GO pro league. And StarCraft II’s Nation Wars continue this weekend. Canada is in action on Thursday and Friday so I’ll be watching to see if Scarlett, HuK and desRow can bring Canada to the Round of 8.
For those on the West Coast or those up late elsewhere, Riot is holding the 2015 All-Star Event featuring the international regional all-star teams and the 1v1 tournament. Put a pot of coffee on if you want to see the finish of those.
There are a series of random tournaments and leagues in action this weekend. Challenger level teams are getting their own League of Legends tournament. The world’s top CS:GO teams descend on Canada for the Northern Arena championship as part of the Canadian Videogame Awards FanFest at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. And over in Korea, the eSports World Championships feature StarCraft and Hearthstone.
If you’re a fan of StarCraft, you didn’t have to wait long after the release of LOTV for the first major tournament in the new expansion. This weekend sees eight top Korean players including WCS semi-finalist Rogue and superstars like Zest, Bomber and Parting in TotalBiscuit’s ShoutCraft Invitational II.
The two big MOBAs also have big events this weekend. Dota 2 is holding the first of three majors starting this weekend with the group stages of the Frankfurt Major. It’s the first stop on the road to The International 2016. Whether it means more to the winner than a $1.1 million payday remains to be seen. In Korea, some of the top Korean League of Legends teams are in the final stages of the KESPA Cup with the semifinals and final this weekend.
This is a big weekend in the world of eSports for two reasons.
The big reason is the 2015 League of Legends World Championship wraps up on Saturday with the Grand Final between SK Telecom and Koo Tigers. Worlds is one of the most watched sporting events in the world and two of Korea’s best going should be a pretty intense matchup even if we expect Faker and MaRin to cement their status as two of the best in the world.
On the other side of the world, the Road to BlizzCon nears its conclusion. Two rounds of 16 will take place at ESL’s studio in Burbank ahead of next weekend’s tournaments at BlizzCon. On Friday and Saturday, Hearthstone’s World Championship group stages will wrap up to set the stage for the playoffs in Anaheim. Sunday is all about StarCraft’s WCS Global Finals round of 16 where we’ll be watching to see how far the lone foreigner, French Protoss Lilbow, can go.