Fans of Street Fighter V will be able to watch the final matches of the world championship televised live on ESPN, the sports network announced today. The addition of the Evolution Championship Series, a fighting game tournament held annually in Las Vegas, is yet another signal from traditional sports media that competitive gaming is a serious market with avid viewers. The event takes place from July 15th to July 17th, with the Street Fighter V finals portion occurring on the last day of the series. It will air on ESPN2, as well as the WatchESPN streaming service.
Street Fighter V joins other major e-sports titles, including Valve’s Dota 2 and Riot Games’ League of Legends, that have turned high-profile tournaments into major sporting events. ESPN has in the past aired Blizzard’s Heroes of the Dorm tournament, which brings together teams from colleges around the country to play the MOBA-style Heroes of the Storm. The network also shows Dota 2‘s The International, the most recent of which contained highest prize pool of any e-sports event to date with more than $18 million in winnings. So ESPN clearly sees the value here, if only because of the ever-rising prize pools and astronomical viewer numbers. Earlier this year, the company launched its own e-sports news vertical with an editorial group dedicated to covering the segment as it continues to grow.