Endemol Beyond USA has tapped top personalities from the e-sports world for the U.S. spin of “Legends of Gaming,” the videogame-competition show hosted by YouTube comic vlogger Toby Turner (aka Tobuscus).
The production house’s original “Legends of Gaming” digital show for the U.K., which debuted last summer and is now in its second season, featured solo or one-on-one gameplay. In the States, the format will be different — focusing on team gameplay, with pro-gamer coaches guiding the crews as they battle it out.
Confirmed contestants for the U.S. series, which began production Monday, include The Jovenshire, the host of Smosh Games; Syndicate Project; Terroriser; TmarTn; OMGitsfirefoxx; iiJERiiCHOii; Lui Calibre; and JD Witherspoon (aka runJDrun). Coaches include Fatal1ty of Fatality Gaming Gear and Perfect Legend of Team Razer; HotShottGG and Hafu.
Endemol sees an opportunity to exploit the rapidly growing e-sports sector, as more people tune in to watch their favorite videogame players in the same way traditional sports fans have for decades. E-sports today is a $612 million industry, with more than 134 million viewers worldwide, according to New York-based SuperData Research.
“E-Sports is starting to pop — there’s a huge amount of movement in this space,” said Adrian Sexton, COO of Endemol Beyond USA, the American digital arm of Endemol Shine Group. “When we looked at the metrics… This is exactly younger audiences want.”
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Sexton declined to reveal what titles the contestants will play in the show. He said the company has lined up a lead sponsor, to be announced later, for the U.S. edition of “Legends of Gaming,” which will have its branding integrated into the program.
All told, the U.S. show’s participants have more than 43 million subscribers across YouTube, Amazon-owned Twitch and Twitter, according to Endemol — with Toby Turner alone representing 15 million of those. Production began Monday at YouTube Space L.A. with six camera rigs (but no studio audience).
The U.S. “Legends of Gaming” is currently expected to comprise about 40 episodes, Sexton said. It will be the debut flagship series of Endemol Beyond USA’s Smasher, a new network aimed at millennial males slated to launch later this year, modeled on the Icon lifestyle digitial network produced with Michelle Phan.