Astro’s head of sports Lee Choong Khay told Digital News Asia:
“We are still looking at the plan for a dedicated channel and if it is feasible, we will make the necessary announcement.”
Less than three months later the plan has become reality, and brings South East Asia its first 24/7 HD esports channel. Pay TV operators across the region can now make the channel available to their subscribers.
eGG content is promised to include “gaming tournaments, walkthroughs, expert guides, documentaries, game house tours and more.”
MEASAT claims that its six communication satellites provide “satellite services to over 150 countries representing 80% of the world’s population across Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Australia.”
24/7 esports TV is going global and mainstream
MEASAT’s announcement is the latest from what is becoming a throng of TV broadcasters who are bringing esports to their audiences.
Turner Broadcasting’s ELEAGUE is rapidly gaining an established audience. Its second week of broadcasting in early June recorded an average of 516,000 viewers in its first hour of prime time between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Last week ESPN announced that its ESPN2 channel will show the finals of the Street Fighter V World Championships in Las Vegas on July 17.
John Lasker, vice president of programming and acquisitions, ESPN Digital said:
“The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals. We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this event to fans.”
When registration to the event closed, a record breaking 5065 players had signed up to take part.
Evo 2016 Numbers – SFV 5065, Smash 4 – 2637, Melee – 2350, Pokken – 1165, GG:XrdR – 903, UMvC3 – 770, MKX – 707, T7 – 543, KI – 540 #Evo2016
— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) July 1, 2016
June also saw the launch of GinxTV’s new U.K.-based 24 hour esports channel. The channel promises to broadcast the biggest esports events in the world, including The International (Dota 2), ELEAGUE and CS:GO and FACEIT’s eSports Championship Series.
The Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced plans to launch a new European esports TV channel in May but that now looks to have been delayed. The channel will use the MTG Viasat platform in the Nordic and Baltic countries and show content from ESL’s competitions and broadcasts from the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and Pro League circuits.
More viewers equals more esports betting
On interesting effect of the launch of the TBS ELEAGUE was the sharp increase in skin betting which occurred.
During week two’s ELEAGUE match between G2 and Ninjas in Pyjamas, 58,277 people wagered 179,578 items. This was a massive increase on the previous ELEAGUE record of around 37,000 people betting 111,000 skins on the match between Renegades and Cloud9.
If the new TV channels create a similar effect in real money esports betting, the already heady growth of the last four years could be set to accelerate. While it’s not a straight line relationship, there’s clearly a link between the growth in esports viewing and esports betting.
The increasing viewership for esports is one of the factors behind Narus Advisors and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming’s forecast that real money esports betting will grow from around $600 million in 2016 to more than $10 billion in 2020.