NBC Sports is the latest media entity to step into the world of esports, teaming with online gaming platform FACEIT and developer Psyonix to host this summer an ESL Rocket League tournament.
The deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, calls for NBC Sports to devote more than 40 hours of event coverage across live-streaming, video-on-demand and linear platforms, according to the company.
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NBC Sports beginning July 22 will utilize its eight regional sports networks, Telemundo Deportes and NBCU International to run regional qualifiers of the 2x2 International Rocket League tournament across the nation and in Europe. The eight regional sports Networks will air regional contests, which will initially launch on the FACEIT online platform with regional online qualifiers.
Competitors in the RSN regions will then move on to the regional final competitions airing on select regional sports networks, with the grand finals featuring 16 total teams airing on NBCSN Aug. 26-27, said the company.
“NBCUniversal’s and Comcast’s unparalleled multi-platform portfolio has allowed us to create a first-of-its-kind tournament that will be authentic to the emerging world of esports,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president, NBC Sports Ventures in a statement. “It all begins with NBC Sports Regional Networks, allowing us to super-serve esports fans the same way we serve traditional sports fans.”
NBC Sports joins other networks like ESPN and TBS that have aired esports competitions. According to the Wall Street Journal, TBS’s ELeague series has averaged 256,000 viewers so far this year, down from 272,000 viewers in 2016.
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In addition to live-streaming and linear coverage, video on demand content from the regional finals and grand finals will be available on digital and social channels across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBCSN, Telemundo Deportes, FACEIT and Rocket League.