League of Legends might not be a “real sport” according to certain TV executives, but it sure is airing on ESPN this weekend.
The League of Legends World Championships Final will be broadcast on ESPN3 on Sunday at 2:30AM ET.
That’s not a great timeslot, of course, so you’ll have to set your DVR. But according to ESPN’s website, it’s a live broadcast from South Korea, where 40,000 fans will gather at the Seoul World Cup Stadium to watch Samsung White and Star Horn Royal Club duke it out.
This is all pretty gratifying, as just over a month ago ESPN’s John Skipper pooh-poohed eSports as not “real sports”, according to the cable network president’s own definitions. As commenters pointed out at the time, neither is poker – and ESPN shows plenty of that.
The last Dota 2 International was also broadcast on ESPN, so it’s nice to see LoL up there beside it.
There’s a lot of money in eSports. League of Legends was the first eSport to front regular million dollar prize pools. The International’s prize pool topped $10 million this year. One college has begun offering athletic scholarships to gamers. Smite recently managed the crowdfund a $1 million prize pool.