Sky has pledged to air the UK’s very first 24-hour eSports TV channel, nudging professional gaming further into the mainstream.
The new channel – Ginx eSports TV – will be available on channel 470 in the Sports section of Sky’s electronic programme guide. It’s set to begin broadcasting on Sky from June 23. Both Sky and ITV are said to be taking minority stakes in the business to help it grow. Sky’s Emma Lloyd, Director of Business Development and Partnerships, said:
“This is an exciting new partnership which will help us develop our understanding of eSports and its audience. At Sky, we are committed to bringing new programmes and channels such as Ginx eSports TV to support and extend our leadership position in content. We look forward to working with Ginx and ITV on developing a channel which will capture the growing appetite for eSports.”
Global eSports industry is worth nearly $1 billion
Ginx eSports TV will also be distributed outside of the UK and Ireland to a further 23 million households, which will mark it as the largest eSports TV channel in the world. The channel plans to air the eSports Championship Series Counter Strike competion – taking place at Wembley Arena later this month – live from its new studio in King’s Cross, London.
A recent report by SuperData valued the global eSports market at $748 million in 2015, and estimated that this will grow to $1.9 billion by the end of 2018. North America and Europe currently make up 52% of that market, while Asia’s share is valued at a still-impressive $321 million.
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Discussing today’s announcement, Michiel Bakker, CEO at Ginx TV, said:
“Ginx eSports TV aims to add significant mainstream TV exposure to the fast growing eSports ecosystem. I am also delighted about the prospect of Sky and ITV joining our shareholder roster, it goes without saying that the combined media footprint and expertise of both presents a significant opportunity for us to make a bigger impact, faster.”
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