Welcome to eSports Weekly, one of many new weekly columns that will be appearing on PN2 over the coming weeks dedicated to a particular element of the gaming community. If it doesn’t seem obvious, eSports Weekly will be focusing its efforts in bringing you some of the bigger and more interesting stories surrounding the constantly growing competitive gaming scene, both here in Australian and abroad.
You may have noticed something rather special Friday night here in Australia, the first ever free-to-air eSports broadcast. The local qualifiers for the International eSports Federation’s World Championships were covered by SBS 2, the first time anyone outside of Foxtel has seen fit to cover the league locally.
Whilst the tournament itself runs competitions for Hearthstone and League of Legends, the telecast focused specifically on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. A number of teams ventured into the competition, though some of the higher profile teams (Renegades and Winterfox) were already overseas competing in the ESL Pro League.
Once the finals hit SBS 2, whilst also streaming on Twitch through the Australia eSports League’s official channel, a few viewers pointed out a couple of issues largely relating to picture and sound quality, though that can come down to a number of factors … not least of which the slower internet connections that continue to plague Aussie gamers (long story, talk more about it later). It certainly had its positives, however, and the commentating team of Australian eSports League’s Madeleine Rose, Danny Kim and Australian eSports Association president Darren Kwan certainly got the job done and showed plenty of enthusiasm, which I’m sure helped to bring across the importance and excitement surrounding the competition to those tuning in for the first time (or casually channel hopping).
Results wise, Athletico took out the event in two matches, 16-5 (on Mirage) and 16-11 (on Dust2) against a tired but competitive SYF Gaming. Athletico are now headed Jakarta for the 2016 IeSF World Championships, where they will represent Australia in CS:GO across the event this October. We certainly wish them well and hope they can pull off a great result!
We take map 2 Dust2 16-11. We heading to Jakarta to represent Australia! pic.twitter.com/ShhYhtHJeM
— Athletico (@AthleticoBH) September 2, 2016
By all accounts, the event itself was a success, though it’ll be interesting to see what the viewer numbers were like and whether it will sway SBS (or even other stations) to take up the mantel and show more events on free-to-air. I’ll be sure to update here as soon as I know.
— Madeleine Rose (@zhiana) September 3, 2016
— Kwan (@kwantaiwei) September 3, 2016
Fingers crossed for more like this in the not too distant future. If you missed the competition, you can find the Twitch stream in full on the AEL channel.
Mark Isaacson is the editor of PN2. Go say hi @Mark_D_Isaacson.