The world of competitive video game sports has moved to the mainstream without much help from television. More than ever, though, television wants to get into the action. On Tuesday, ELeague, a new gaming league, began pitting well-known gamers against one another on Twitch, the popular online video streaming service. The game: the first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The objective: to kill the opposing team. On Friday night, this week’s winning teams will go to virtual war live, but not just online — also on TBS, the national cable television channel.
ELeague is not the first attempt to bring e-sports, as competitive video gaming is known, to TV. And, with a 10 p.m. slot in the schedule, the weekly three-hour broadcasts are not getting the most prime placement — this week’s lead-in is a syndicated rerun of “The Big Bang Theory.” But if previous attempts to televise e-sports, including an ill-fated league founded by DirecTV, have treated the industry as small-time and in need of mainstream attention, ELeague is aiming to translate the online sensibility of e-sports for television. If all goes as planned, ELeague on TBS will be TV created in the image of successful online e-sports, rather than the other way around.