Esports and tv and sports

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

Variety released an article about ESL tapping David Hill to make esports more like TV. The only stated goal is to make the broadcast more professional as opposed to amateurish — and to find the esports equivalent of Joe Buck and Terry Bradshaw.

I can’t comment on that bit because I don’t watch sports, so I have no clue as to who either of them is or how good they are. In addition, I have no clue about production so I can’t talk about that either. But the logic of how this idea is formulated is off-putting. It’s based on the premise that sports broadcasts are the end goal of esports broadcasts. This presumes that we can fit esports as an experience and somehow mold it into a sports broadcast.

This is off for a few reasons. First, the esports audience is different from traditional sports audience. Is the idea then to try to attract more casual viewers? This could easily backfire as casual viewers are by their very nature casual. It seems to me that the idea should be to introduce casual viewers to the game and then convert them into hardcore viewers. Second, the idea of finding an esports equivalent of a TV sports broadcaster is already missing the point. Esports casters have more in common with radio casters than they do with TV casters. The speed of the delivery has been ingrained into the esports culture in a way that I don’t believe can ever be taken out. Finally, David Hill was part of the disaster of CGS that nearly killed Counter-Strike.

I’m not against the idea of esports taking what is good from TV or being on TV. It can be done, but it has been done to extraordinary effect. OGN has done it in Korea. ELEAGUE has done it in America.

But the history and the opening statements already leaves me with doubt.

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers. You can reach him at Stephen@Slingshotesports.com

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