American media conglomerate Turner (officially Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.) is looking to televise a new CS:GO league in 2016, according to a report by the Daily Dot.
In a day which could have certainly brooked no more large stories in the CS:GO world, the late hours of Wednesday evening in North America saw reports emerge that Turner Broadcasting had teamed up with talent agency WME/IMG in the hopes of creating a new esports league in CS:GO.
The report was first broached by Richard Lewis of Daily Dot, with mention made of the media company looking to bring in top teams for two, ten-week annual seasons, beginning in 2016.
The as-yet-unnamed league would also feature programming that includes player profiles and tidbits on the history of Counter-Strike for newfound viewers.
The league would air on Friday nights in front of a studio audience on Turner’s TBS network, a basic cable channel in the United States which reaches out to “90 million homes” in the country.
TBS also broadcasts content ranging from comedy such as American Dad and Conan O’Brien’s late-night talkshow to other sports such as Major League Baseball regular season and postseason games (the station once solely covered the Atlanta Braves, a baseball team in the same city in which Turner Broadcasting is headquartered).
With the confirmation of compLexity owner Jason Lake on Reddit that team owners had met with Turner executives in Atlanta, along with the story receiving pickup in mainstream media press outlets, it seems safe to assume that gears are truly in motion for such a league.
Such a league may raise problems in an already oversaturated events calendar and, as Lewis mentions in his report, the company will “will not seek to lock players or teams into exclusivity contracts.” In an apparent press release, Lenny Daniels commented on the decision to invest in CS:GO:
“Esports is one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world…We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios, and presenting the competitions in an innovative way throughout our portfolio of leading brands,” Daniels stated.
The president of TBS (as well as TNT, another American basic cable channel) and chief creative officer at Turner, Kevin Reilly added:
“We are proud to establish a leadership position in this rapidly growing arena, which I see as a tent pole for the next chapter of TBS…The level of rabid fandom and engagement that we see in this world is extraordinary and we aim to up the experience for both the players and fans alike and provide a cutting-edge live experience on both linear and digital TBS platforms.”
In addition, Variety, an American trade magazine, pointed out that the move is also part of WME/IMG’s continued mission to acquire a live-event profile with the company acquiring stakes in everything from Miss Universe to bull-riding in recent years.
Regardless, such a high profile project represents a return to mainstream exposure in Counter-Strike perhaps unseen since the days of the appalling (considering how it turned out) Championship Gaming Series in 2007. Any further developments will be reported on as they occur.