NBC Sports has announced it’s leaping into the esports arena, with a $100,000 open tournament for vehicular kickabout Rocket League. It’ll be partnering with FACEIT and Psyonix to launch the tournament, which will take the form of a 2 v 2.
The tournament is going to get a lot of attention from the media network, as after the June qualifiers, the early stages will be broadcast on NBC’s regional channels, with the closing stages of the tournament playing out on NBC Sports and several countries worldwide.
The puzzling aspect here isn’t that NBC have chosen to get onboard, but more that they’ve decided to get on board with Rocket League. Psyonix’s title is no doubt a popular contender, but it isn’t one of the ‘big’ esports, with its following fairly niche compared to Dota 2, League of Legends or Counter-Strike:Global Offensive.
However, it could be that the company are looking for a game that’s easy to follow, and Rocket League, analogous to football if football was played by cars equipped with jetpacks, is quite simple to follow compared to several esports.
In a press release, Rob Simmelkjaer, NBC Sports Ventures’ senior vice president, said that the booming esports business had become “tough to ignore”, and no doubt the competition from several other big American broadcasters has encouraged them to take action.