ESPN has received a lot of support and just as much anger at the news that it will release its own eSports coverage portal. While some are saying that this is the only route we can take to put eSports, and eSports betting in turn, on the map, others have berated the US sports news giant, saying that its motives are purely selfish and given the wealth of eSports forums and websites around, totally unnecessary. The organisation website and magazine editor in chief has stated that this is the next logical step in covering sports and the business plans to treat eSports as it does football, baseball and basketball, that is, in complete seriousness. ESPN seems to be taking the move very seriously and has even started searching for a full time eSports editor. But the move is surprisingly not the first the sports network has made in the direction of eSports.
It has already broadcast The International, the world’s largest Dota 2 tournament on ESPN 3 and hosted the collegiate finals of Heroes of the Storm on its ESPN 2 channel. Both had a wonderful response from the fans and the broadcast of quality matches may see ESPN gather many new fans. A myriad of other media companies have come forward after the news was announced claiming that ESPN has simply stolen their thunder.
They claim that they have been around for years and have always seen the value of eSports, while ESPN has just swooped in to try and rake in more money. Of course, the flip side of that argument is that this could be a move that adds a sense of legitimacy to the field of eSports, one it certainly didn’t have before and in turn this means events and matches could get more coverage, which will only grow opportunities for everyone involved.
But what will all of this mean for eSports betting? Could this move bring eSports betting out into the open and create a more structured framework for those who want to place their bets? Or is this the move that will finally set off governments and see them imposing stricter eSports betting laws, as has been done with online casinos around the globe? In truth, no one is sure what effect this will have on eSports betting, but they have calculated a number of scenarios that could come to fruition.
The first is that in which eSports gains the recognition it deserves and those who bet on their favourite games finally have a more structured environment in which to do so, one that is monitored by regulatory bodies and that makes eSports betting safer for everyone. Additionally, more exposure would mean more advertising for eSports betting sites, which will in turn open up a lot more opportunities for everyone involved. Of course, it could all go the other way and the struggle to bet on eSports may become a much tougher one to break through. The exposure ESPN is bringing to the industry could see a wealth of regulations spring up, and with them a wealth of problems including corruption, illegal betting and even extortion.