Turner Broadcasting is launching a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive eSports league in partnership with WME | IMG talent agency.
The league, to be televised over two 10-week seasons per year on Time-Warner-owned American channel TBS, is set to begin in 2016.
TBS currently hosts live Major League Baseball coverage and other sports programming, such as the March Madness block of collegiate basketball.
WME | IMG’s involvement brings the expertise of Global eSports Management, a firm the talent agency acquired in January of this year, with pro stars such as League of Legends player Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez on the books.
The league also appears to be organised under direct supervision with Valve, just as the ESEA and ESL major leagues are.
“WME | IMG is constantly seeking new ways to help fans enjoy the eSports they love and attract more fans to the sport,” said Tobias Sherman, former GEM co-founder and now head of the eSports division at the talent agency.
“This venture is a great example of our commitment to growing the eSports industry, and Turner is the perfect partner to make this a reality. We’ve so enjoyed working with Valve and the teams through this endeavor, and we’re excited for the future.”
Exact dates and terms for the league have yet to be announced, however the move to have an eSport as well-followed as CS:GO on television networks is a massive advancement.
Previous attempts to televise eSports include ESPN’s Heroes of the Dorm competition, in which Blizzard’s latest MOBA was played out by college semi-pro teams, garnering ratings as low as to be expected of such a niche interest.
CS:GO’s constantly rising playerbase and consistently high viewership numbers on Twitch over major tournaments - paired with a relative ease of understanding compared to MOBAs - could make this a mainstream success.