eSports will get another mainstream spot in the sun in April when Daybreak’s H1Z1 hits The CW.
The competition, called H1Z1: Fight for the Crown, will boast a $300k prize pool. Echo Fox, Rogue Gaming, Denial eSports and Panda Global are all confirmed, with 11 more teams to follow. The number of professional H1Z1 teams grew rapidly throughout 2016.
H1Z1 will air on The CW on April 20th at 9pm. There will also be a five episode documentary about the tournament.
"It will be fascinating to see the different team dynamics and strategies at work because the stakes are higher," H1Z1 executive producer Chris Wynn said, as reported by ESPN. "There is no room for mistakes or hesitation when your whole team is relying on you."
Panda Global CFO David Wu added: "The introduction of the 5v5 format brings more potential for rivalries, action and storylines, perfect for propelling the [game’s] esports aspirations forward. Panda Global is proud to be one of the teams on the forefront of this movement."
The CW is a US cable channel co-owned by CBS, UPN and Warner. It has enjoyed a fair bit of success in recent years with shows like Arrow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.
ESports are becoming an increasing common fixture on US TV. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition eLeague is broadcast on rival network TBS.
Daybreak Games was formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment. H1Z1 was launched on Steam Early Access in early 2015 before eventually splitting into two games – Just Survive and Kill of the Hill, the latter of which was spun off from a mode in the original game called Battle Royale.