ESPN.com has launched a new vertical to cover eSports and the world of competitive gaming. Chad Millman, editor-in-chief for both the website and ESPN The Magazine, said the company was ready to take the next step in the coverage by delivering everything from credible, authentic storytelling, to news coverage, event coverage and even analysis.
“We want to treat eSports with the same seriousness and credibility that we treat the NFL, the NBA, and major league baseball,” Millman said.
Millman said that the decision to begin more serious coverage of competitive gaming came from the passion and engagement of fans of the sport, but also from an issue of the magazine that was released last May.
“To me the storytelling was so compelling and so powerful,” he said. “People were so engaged with the coverage. It felt like we were doing a disservice to ourselves and a disservice to the audience if we didn’t take this as serious as everything else.”
There is also a belief that more than just the eSports community will begin to read and become informed because of the coverage. This is despite the fact that many people, both viewers and ESPN anchors, have taken to Twitter in the past criticizing televised coverage of the sport.
“I think one of the reasons we were compelled to do this and act on it is because we saw the kind of reaction the eSports issue (of the magazine) was engaged with,” Millman said. “It wasn’t just people who are passionate about eSports or passionate about this community. The way that some of the numbers were put into context helped engage an audience and explain that this is something that you need to be paying attention to.”