ESPN confused its regular viewers on Sunday evening by broadcasting a gaming, or “esports,” tournament.
A collegiate-level Heroes of the Storm tournament was shown on ESPN 2 on Sunday evening. This was the first time that an esports tournament was broadcast on the main ESPN networks (ESPN2, specifically.)
Heroes of the Storm is Activision’s attempt to break into the popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre of video games. Players control a single character as part of a team and fight for control of their individual lane with the eventual goal being to destroy the enemies base.
The “Heroes of the Dorm” tournament featured 64 college teams and whittled the field down to a final four. The prize at stake was a scholarship of $25,000 per year for each team member for their remaining years of undergrad or graduate school.
Many ESPN viewers took to Twitter to express their confusion and annoyance at the broadcast of a video game over traditional sports. They may want to get used to it; it’s unlikely that this is the last we’ve seen of competitive gaming tournaments on mainstream broadcasters.