In a press release today ESPN and MLG (Major League Gaming) announced a partnership for ESPN to begin covering MLG's tournaments and leagues providing news, commentary, player information, etc.
"ESPN.com, the leading online sports destination, today announced it has entered a content agreement with Major League Gaming (MLG), the leading professional video game league.
ESPN will serve as a primary outlet for news about MLG, providing extensive digital coverage of MLG’s 2008 Pro Circuit Competitions, including exclusive streamed matches, pro player interviews, and scores and stats. Additionally, MLG will host ESPN co-branded online video game tournaments.
ESPN will be on site at each of the 2008 MLG Pro Circuit Competitions, reporting news from its own coverage booth for various ESPN programs and platforms, including ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network.
Additionally, ESPN.com will launch a competitive video gaming section replete with all of the latest news, information and video as it relates to competitive gaming. The section will include background on MLG, interviews with marquee players, video from past competitions and the ESPN/MLG Top Ten, which includes regularly updated video highlighting top game play from MLG pros and players. ESPN.com will announce details of MLG’s 2008 Pro Circuit season in the coming weeks."
Being a journalist in the gaming industry I do think this is a great opportunity for, what gamers like to call, "eSports". However as big of a fan as I am of games I have always played sports throughout my life and I don't buy gaming as a sport. When I go out and play 3v3 bball tournaments in the summer, thats a sport. But my late night sessions of Team Fortress 2 do not qualify in my view.
What do you guys think? Is the world ready for this? How will readers react to this move by ESPN? I don't see much negative feedback really affecting them, the gaming coverage is optional to view. But is there a credibility question here? Do games deserve such a pedestal and publicity?