One of esports’ biggest detractors might be changing his tune.
Radio host Colin Cowherd, who has a lengthy history of bashing esports, said on his show Wednesday he is considering investing in it.
At the 95-minute mark of his show, Cowherd begins talking about Facebook’s impact on the presidential election, and the conversation gets all the way to the point where he tells co-host Kristine Leahy (a noted esports fan who was a League of Legends interviewer at IEM San Jose last November) that he’s considering investing in esports. The transcript is below:
Colin: You know, society offers, it’s really interesting, yesterday I talked about this on Facebook and Facebook.com is getting crap because people are like “they’re suppressing conservative views,” I was like, so? What if it’s owned by a democrat? It’s not the government. It’s just Facebook.com. And society – Silicon Valley, is owned and run by liberals, so? so? Republicans had a chance. you just wanted to own your rifle shops and your casinos. This country provides, every hour, a new opportunity. Esports. The internet. Soccer. UFC. All these opportunities to invest and grow. and jump on stuff. Democrats have done a better job with Google and Apple and Microsoft and Facebook. That’s why you should always be open to opportunities.
Can Facebook literally alter our presidential race? Yep. So what? Conservatives dominate radio. So what? I defended conservatives. What’s wrong with democrats dominating Facebook and Microsoft and Apple? It was available to conservatives, they didn’t lunge toward it. I have no problem with businesses helping one party or the other. Facebook now has major impact in elections, so what. Fox News may alter, MSNBC may alter why can’t Facebook? Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly democrat. Opportunity: they seized it, conservatives didn’t. That’s the American way. Esports – would you invest? Internet, soccer, UFC, the Fertittas bought the UFC for $2 million. It was an opportunity. You were mocking it, “I’ll never watch it.” They said, “We’ll buy it.” That is the American Dream and yes, Kristine, I’m considering investing in esports.
Kristine: “You can see my face as you’re talking about this. I think that’s a brilliant idea.”
Colin: “I am. I am in talks right now.”
Kristine: “Really? Do you need me to consult with you? I have a lot of friends in this world these days.”
Colin: “You just deal with your planet people and I’ll come around.”
Cowherd hosted UFC president Dana White on his show earlier, which prompted the comparison between UFC and esports, another growing industry.
Cowherd has been a notorious villain in the esports realm for a while now. He had strong words when finding out about ESPN’s plans to broadcast a Heroes of the Storm event on one of its channels last year.
“If I am ever forced to cover guys playing video games, I will retire and move to a rural fishing village and sell bait,” Cowherd — then an ESPN employee — said on his show.
After hearing about TBS’ plan to televise a Counter-Strike League (named ELEAGUE, which begins later this month), Cowherd went on a rant and called gamers “nerds.”
Gordon Hayward, an ardent League of Legends player and forward for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, called out Cowherd and once joined his show to defend esports.
Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, called Cowherd an idiot in November for his opinion about esports.
Given all the hate coming from Cowherd in the past year, it’s easy to be skeptical of such a strong change of heart. Cowherd would not be the first big traditional sports name to get into esports, though. Rick Fox, former NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers, owns Echo Fox, an organization with teams in multiple titles. Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins recently invested in NRG, which was founded by minority owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.