ESPN2 televising video games created quite the social media frenzy on Sunday night. The network televised Heroes of the Dorm as Arizona State and California faced off in competitive video games, or eSports. Even Bill Walton tweeted about the thrilling action from the conference of champions.
Heroes of the Dorm – I have never been so proud. Go Pac12, no truck stops here. Just reporting the facts
— Bill Walton (@BillWalton) April 27, 2015
With the NBA and NHL Playoffs in full swing, my timeline was filled with sports people talking about video games. Everyone from Robert Flores to Michelle Beadle to Spencer Hall were tweeting about it. And it seemed to be developing an audience whether you were a hardcore gamer or a curious, casual observer.
However, social media buzz doesn’t equal ratings. And that lesson was learned once again on Sunday night.
According to our ratings analyst Douglas Pucci, Heroes of the Dorm managed a paltry 0.1 rating and just 96,000 viewers for ESPN2 on Sunday night, one of the lowest viewership totals for the network in that timeslot in recent memory.
The past five Sunday nights, ESPN2 had never dipped below 286,000 for programs that included NHRA drag racing and two 30 for 30 reruns. Of course, there was some stiff competition on Sunday evening with the NBA Playoffs, MLB, and MLS games all happening across the major cable networks that televise live sports. One channel over on ESPN2, Mets-Yankees averaged almost 2.5 million viewers.
With these numbers in mind, will ESPN be willing to give eSports another chance in primetime? The event did create a lot of Twitter chatter and with more promotion next time, perhaps it will be a different story. But it seems like there’s a lot of ground for eSports to make up before it can become a draw for ESPN.