Saturday, January 13, 2007

Esports and DirectTV's CGS

Some interesting developments in the world of eSports. The last CPL event was supposed to have been broadcast by DirectTV (see previous posts: "DirecTV/eSports", Esports event to be broadcast by DirectTV"). That did not happen, and according to articles at various sites (, this was because the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) was asking for far too much money for the broadcast rights. Either in retribution, or because they feel that working with established leagues was not working, DirecTV (in conjunction with IGN) has now turned their attention to their own eSports gaming league: Championship Gaming Series (CGS - noted on GotFrag 1, 2; ESReality).

Some interesting facts were released by CGS in their FAQ and in an interview on GotFrag:
  • 1. Players will be paid a salary (tourney winnings will be on top of this)
  • 2. There will be a draft (and a hierarchal tourney structure to get to this stage)
  • 3. The three games will be Counterstrike Source for the PC, and Dead or Alive and Project Gotham Racing for Xbox360.
  • 4. Fatal1ty will be involved in broadcasting (color commentator?)

Probably the biggest news is the player salaries and the draft concept. Midway at GotFrag has an analysis, as does Dunn at Amped Esports. Midway says that the draft should be location based so that teams get local support. I completely disagree with this point as there are many sports (golf and tennis come to mind) where locality means nothing. There are many people in the world who follow Roger Federer and Tiger Woods in their respective sports solely because they like the player, not because they are from their home town. I think eSports in the digital age will generate the same type of followings. Of course there are the international competitions where national pride for one's teams will occur but for the most part people will follow teams and players because they are fans, not because those players live down the block.

This is a big step forwards for eSports in terms of sponsorship and money, but it remains to be seen if the audience will be there to support the whole structure. DirecTV is investing a lot of time, effort and money at this concept, so if it fails it will likely have repurcussions for years to come. If it succeeds, then I suspect even larger media companies will enter the arena. 2007 looks like it will indeed be a big year for eSports.

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