2017 eSports TV Programming Grows 4X



eSports TV Programming Grows 4X In 2017 (Graphic: Christopher Reath)

As we near the end of the first quarter of 2017, let’s take a look at what’s happened with eSports across the TV landscape.



TNL Infographic 029: 2017 TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

Clearly the biggest change between 2016 and 2017 is the increase in programming. Whereas Q1 2016 had just 2, Q1 2017 will have 9 events on TV.

Naturally we also saw an increase in TV Networks as well with 2 in 2016 and 5 in 2017, with the biggest being the first eSports program on ESPN’s flagship channel.




Last week, I covered how eSports isn’t even close to traditional sports TV ratings yet, so no need to rehash that. However, even with a much smaller audience, there’s some interesting data:

  • Not surprising that the ELEAGUE Major was #1 but I'm very interested to see how their first Street Fighter event performs.  Considering that another Fighting game - Mortal Kombat - was the highest rated show for 2016, I'm bullish on the genre


  • Sports titles dominated Q1 with 7 of the 9 programs – granted there were some Tape Delays and Replays


  • EA's FIFA also performed well. The Miami regionals had more than double the audience of last years FIFA Interactive World Cup Finals - 96,000 vs. 41,000




I've said that I believe that one of eSports big themes for 2017 will be media rights and distribution.  The partnerships continue to flow.


January: The Big 10 Network agreed to a deal with Riot Games to host a League of Legends season spanning 2 months with 12 schools like Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin participating (The Big 10 Network is a joint venture between the Big 10 Conference and Fox Entertainment Group).


ESPN Brazil Launches 3 eSports Shows (Photo: ESPN)

February: ESPN Brazil announced 3 new weekly eSports TV shows as well as multiple game championships.  The shows consist of:

  • Multiplayer: An eSports "simulator"
  • Match Making:  Friday news show covering the Brazilian eSports scene and interviews with Pros
  • Arena eSports: Saturday show focused on global eSports

ESPN Brazil also has a deal with ESL to broadcast part of the Brazil Premier League. The agreement will bring 200 hours of programming.


GINX eSports TV Expands To MENA (Photo: GINX eSports TV)

GINX eSports TV is now in the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region via partnership with the OSN network. GINX eSports TV becomes the area's 1st 24-hour dedicated gaming channel.

GINX eSports TV is now 40+ countries, 9 languages and 36 million homes.