The first Heroes of the Dorm event, the college eSports event using Blizzard’s MOBA “Heroes of the Storm,” debuted last year and marked the first time a collegiate eSports event was telecast on ESPN2. Teams from more than 460 schools will compete in the 2016 tournament with every member of the crowned champion team getting $75,000 in tuition for their collegiate career.
Like last year, the tournament will be telecast on ESPN. The round of 64, round of 32, round of 16 and round of 8 will be streamed live on ESPN3 across digital platforms as well as Twitch and YouTube. The “Heroic Four” and Final Showdown will be in front of a live audience and aired on ESPN2 on April 9 and 10.
“It’s inspiring to see players from last year’s championship team, the UC Berkeley Golden Bears, now thriving in pro esports careers—we look forward to seeing how this year’s competitors shape the future of competitive gaming,” Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, said.
The move for another airing of Heroes of the Dorm is a bit perplexing. When it released last year both viewers and ESPN broadcasters alike were either stunned or confused when they saw video games airing on the sports broadcasting channel. Then-ESPN host Colin Cowherd even said he’d rather quite sports media all together over covering eSports. Not only were people vocally confused and concerned, the airing itself didn’t exactly perform well. It’s airing on ESPN2 last year earned it a 0.1 Nielsen rating.
eSports have taken a great many strides since the last tournament aired, however. That includes ESPN getting more serious about eSports coverage with a vertical dedicated strictly to it. With competitive gaming quicken its pace toward the mainstream, expect to see much more coverage of tournaments like Heroes of the Dorm filling air time.