by Dennis Yang
Thu, Jan 17th 2008 3:55pm
ESPN has entered into a multiyear agreement with Major League Gaming to provide exclusive online coverage of MLG's upcoming video game competitions. The online coverage is a natural fit for gaming, however, this relationship could segue into more regular coverage on ESPN's television channels. ESPN already regularly covers non-traditional "sports" on its television channels now, from poker to the national spelling bee, so seeing coverage of video game tournaments is not a huge stretch. Video gaming is one of the most popular activities for the young male set, and ESPN is responding to the changing interests of its key demographic. Last year, the USA network aired the MLG finals, and more recently, MLG gamers are starting to appear regularly on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" morning show. The allure of professional gaming has been around since the dawn of video games (remember The Wizard?). Korea (the site of the first world cyber games) leads the charge, with its professional video gamers making good money as early as 2003. That said, professional video gaming is still dwarfed by professional sports (and even professional poker), so it still remains uncertain whether or not it will ever grow to have wide appeal, or if it will remain a relative niche spectator interest.
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