The popularity of eSports has risen in recent years and now Disney is getting in on the action. The channel, focusing on the ages 6-14 demographic, will be broadcasting the Super Smash Bros finals on Disney XD live from EVO 2017. The announcement came via Disney XP’s official Twitter account.
While esports seems to be getting a lot of attention lately, there is still a lot of controversy around the topic of video game competitions being considered a sport. In fact, when asked about Amazon’s 2014 acquisition of Twitch, John Skipper- President of ESPN said that esports were not sports but “competitions”. Now, ESPN will be covering the Street Fighter V finals.
Many television companies have begun to change their tune following the viewership numbers from the 2014 League of Legends tournament. Riot Games reported that 27 million unique viewers watched the finals while the NBA finals that year only had 13 million despite it being the most watched NBA finals since 1998.
The tournament coverage is part of Disney XD’s D|XP, a summer-long event where the channel will be broadcasting video game related content during the 9pm to 3am time block starting tonight. No one knows exactly what Disney XD will be broadcasting outside of the Super Smash Bros finals but the fact that Disney is taking an interest means esports is finally getting the attention it deserves.