'I have no idea what I'm watching': regular folk still don't get e-sports

Sunday night broadcast of a pro-gaming tournament on ESPN2 sends sport fans into a spin

Esports caused a stir at the weekend as Heroes Of The Storm made its cable television debut on ESPN2.

To the surprise of many, the sports channel broadcast the final of a gaming championship titled Heroes Of The Dorm played between American universities. 

Basketball, baseball, and American football fans tuning in at that particular moment were somewhat miffed upon discovering that videogames had invaded their favourite channel.

Reactions ranged from the derisory - 'I am literally shaking my head that this is televised....' @1Cdrake5 - to the confused - 'I have no idea what I'm watching on ESPN2 right now.. BUT GO DEVILS!!' @MikeBerco - to the downright enraged - 'ESPN2 must be kidding me right now' @the_samsprabary.

In spite of the internet's ambivalence about the grouping of mouse-twitching with more traditional sports, the popularity of pro-gaming is hard to deny; more than 30 million people tuned in to the last League Of Legends Worlds finale. 

It's viewing figures like this that have piqued the interest of broadcasters. Last year ESPN broadcast the DOTA 2 tournament The International using its web channel and was delighted by the viewing figures it received

However even top execs within the company have expressed mixed feelings on the subject. Last year the channel's President, John Skipper, was lambasted for suggesting that pro-gaming was a 'competition' and not a 'real sport'.

The choice to broadcast Heroes Of The Dorm was divisive, but given the voracious appetite of the gaming community for televised tournaments we very much doubt this is the last we'll see of esports on mainstream television.