ESports are coming in BBC Three channel!
Live esports is coming to BBC Three
Big announcement. We’re going to bring you four hours of live esports coverage every weekend for the next six weeks.
n the first deal of its kind for the BBC (we like to be first), we’ve signed up the Gfinity Elite League Series One.
It’s based around a new league featuring Street Fighter, Counter Strike and Rocket League.
So here’s everything you need to know...
What is it?
One hundred and sixty pro gamers duking it out every week in front of a baying West London crowd for fame and fortune (£225,000 of fortune to be exact). Each competitor wears the livery of one of eight established eSports organisations and specialises in one of three games, representing a rough cross-section of the current competitive gaming landscape: a shooter, a fighter and... well, Rocket League.
After 10 intense weeks of clutch AWP plays, critical arts, and satisfying 'doinks', an overall franchise winner will be crowned along with three individual game champions.
What are the games?
Each game is granted its own day of competition. Fridays, from 9pm, are for the hectic team-format Street Fighter V bouts, and Saturdays are set aside for the slower, tense burn of tactical shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive – from 9-11pm.
On Sunday, everyone kicks back and watches flying rocket cars play football for an hour in Rocket League from 5pm. Each game exudes its own appeal - from Street Fighter’s characteristic adrenaline-fuelled, highly entertaining 'pop-offs' between players to the marathon of concentration required for a CS:GO victory.
You can watch and follow it all live on BBC Three or on BBC iPlayer.
The teams themselves are a mixed bag - plucky up-and-comers rubbing shoulders with established orgs such as Method, Endpoint and the delightfully named Team EnVyUs. All are required to draft, at least in part, from Elite’s feeder competition: Challenger Series.
Challenger is a recurring season of free online knockout competitions allowing anyone to rack up points in the hopes of catching the eye of one or more of the Elite teams. Do well and you might get drafted. Get drafted and you’ll be mixing it up with the big boys on the Elite stage in the following season.
Who should I watch out for?
We’re three weeks in and personalities are starting to bubble up.
Endpoint’s unbeaten Street Fighter prodigy, JeSTeR PoWeR, likes to walk out throwing roses, wearing the imposing mask of his main: Vega.
Infused’s Rocket League captain, Doomsee, has been melting hearts on stream and in-arena, by gurning at the camera, spending time with fans and just being a generally all-round nice dude.
Each game’s commentary team and series presenters are also top-notch and outspoken. Street Fighter pundit/renowned grime DJ, Logan Sama, joins the panel on Friday…6
How big is it?
Conceptually, the series is shooting for something that’s never been done before - a pathway from pubstar to superstar. All players are contracted, some have quit their jobs, others have moved into org-owned team houses, some were Challenger contenders a matter of months ago. This is the real deal.
For a literal representation of the ambition on show here, you need only take a look at the arena itself. It’s got a player’s tunnel. How many eSports competitions have a player’s tunnel?
Team Infused (11-year stalwarts of the UK scene) are looking very strong - their Rocket League squad have dominated and the Street Fighter guys only just took their first loss this weekend. It was extremely dramatic. Poor old Reason Gaming are lagging behind a little, but they do have one of the best beards in the competition on the chin of Street Fighter: Undacuva - so it’s not all bad news.
Still early days for the Series though and, with some spicy match-ups scheduled for the coming weeks, everything is subject to change.
Want to find out more? Here’s all you need to know about eSports-
Tune in to Gfinity Elite League Fridays from 8.45pm, Saturdays from 9pm and Sunday from 5pm on BBC Three's website or BBC iPlayer. Talk about it on social using #bbcesports.
ESports are coming in BBC Three channel!