Pan-European pay TV service Sky and ITV have joined forces with Ginx TV to launch Ginx eSports TV, the U.K. and Ireland’s only 24-hour TV channel devoted to eSports, in which videogaming is elevated into a spectator sport. ITV and Sky are expected to take minority stakes in the business to help it grow.
The channel, formerly known as Ginx TV, will launch on Sky on June 23, and will sit in the sports section of the Sky electronic program. The channel was previously only available on cable TV service Virgin Media.
Ginx eSports TV will showcase major eSports tournaments from across the world, as well as hosting original programming. The schedule will include coverage of Turner’s ELeague tournament, Faceit’s eSports Championship Series, and Valve’s The International Dota 2, which Ginx eSports TV will be covering live from its new London studio. Other content partners will include Riot, Activision, EGL, Gfinity and more will be announced.
Outside the U.K. and Ireland, Ginx eSports TV will be distributed to an additional 23 million households, which it claims makes it the largest eSports TV channel in the world, reaching 37 million homes. With the rapid growth of competitive gaming as a spectator event over the past few years, the company says the appetite and potential for an eSports TV channel has never been greater.
Michiel Bakker, Ginx TV CEO, said: “Ginx eSports TV aims to add significant mainstream TV exposure to the fast-growing eSports ecosystem. Complementing online streaming, with an entertainment-led approach, the launch on Sky and the rebrand across all our 37 million households allows us to help new audiences discover eSports and hopefully gives core fans a fresh perspective.”
Emma Lloyd, group director of business development and strategic partnerships at Sky, commented: “This is an exciting new partnership which will help us develop our understanding of eSports and its audience.”
Simon Pitts ITV’s managing director of online, pay and interactive, said: “eSports is experiencing phenomenal growth and Ginx’s vision is to bring together two incredibly popular forms of entertainment — gaming and television — to create a unique, global proposition. We’re delighted to be partnering with Ginx and Sky as part of our strategy to target younger audiences, develop new programming genres and expand internationally.”