In a huge step for eSports and competitive gaming, the BBC has announced plans to live-stream the upcoming League of Legends World Championships when they take place later this month. From 15 October, BBC Three, working with BBC Sport, will broadcast the quarter finals live online from Wembley Arena.
"We jumped at the chance to collaborate with BBC Sport and bring this massive UK event to a wider audience," said BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh in a statement. "BBC Three will always experiment with new ways to deliver content that young people want, in ways they want. I think this is an exciting way to cover something millions of young Brits love, in a BBC Three way."
The coverage will be hosted by video game personality Julia Hardy and Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin and feature interviews with competing players and fans, as well as show all the action as teams from around the globe compete for a prize pool of £1,387,000.
The quarter final stage will take across four days in London ahead of the semi-finals to be held in Brussels from 24-25 October and the grand final in Berlin on 31 October. The group stage is ongoing with teams Cloud9, SK Telecom T1, Origen and Counter Logic Gaming currently leading the four groups. The quarter final match-ups will be announced when the group stages finishes this weekend.
"I'm delighted to be part of the BBC's coverage at Wembley Arena," said eSports commentator Leigh Smith. "The World Championships has been amazing so far and it's great to see the BBC getting involved and raising awareness of eSports in the UK."
League of Legends is one of the world's most popular video games, played by over 27 million people. The rise of eSport has led many to argue over whether competitive gaming actually needs the interest of television companies to grow (online audiences already dwarf the television audiences of any show) but simply garnering the attention of a company as prestigious as the BBC is a great sign.