The BBC has announced plans to livestream the League of Legends World Championships this fall, making it one of the first mainstream media outlets to throw its support behind the growing competitive gaming industry.
According to the company, both BBC Three and BBC Sport will be collaborating on comprehensive coverage of the event with the same degree of attention given to traditional sports like football.
Professional gamers Leigh "Deman" Smith and James "Stress" O’Leary will be providing commentary on rounds throughout the tournament while BBC personality Julia Hardy interviews players and fans physically attending the event.
"We jumped at the chance to collaborate with BBC Sport and bring this massive UK event to a wider audience," BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said in a statement. "I think this is an exciting way to cover something millions of young Brits love, in a BBC Three way.”
Last year, more than 27 million people tuned in to watch livestreams of Riot Games's League of Legends World Championships. The popular esports event features highly-skilled players from across the globe competing against one another for titles, glory, and a cool $1 million U.S. in prize money, along with very lucrative corporate sponsorships.
In 2015, global eSports revenue is projected to blow past $250 million and those numbers only appear to be growing. As the sport has grown in popularity and profitability, illegal activity associated with it has increased as well. Earlier this month, Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends moved to ban G2A, a popular Championship team sponsor, under suspicion that G2A was selling illegally obtained access keys to play the game.