Coverage of competitive video gaming is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors of sports media, with The Score launching an eSports site and app last February, Turner broadcasting its new “ELeague” regularly on TBS, ESPN launching an eSports vertical in January and Yahoo Sports now getting in on the party. Yahoo announced Wednesday that they’ve launched their own new eSports vertical at esports.yahoo.com, which will combine written and video coverage with the stats, rosters, schedules and scores that have helped boost the company’s other sport-specific pages. From their release:
Yahoo Esports will have an emphasis on unique video content experiences covering live tournaments while going inside the action to focus on the players and competition with expert commentary, marquee interviews and in-depth features – in addition Yahoo Esports will maintain industry wide calendars, stats and player rankings. To cover the most exciting moments and competition in esports, Yahoo hired some of the best editorial and video talent in the industry. Andrea Rene will host experts Travis Gafford and Taylor Cocke in weekly “League of Legends” coverage and break down “Heroes of the Storm” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” with Dylan Walker. Yahoo Esports will also cover other major titles including “Dota 2” and “Hearthstone.”
“We’re approaching our coverage of esports with the same tenacity and professionalism we always have with Yahoo Sports, News and Finance,” said Bob Condor, Vice President of Yahoo Sports Media. “Coupled with our experience in building great products, we’ve gone out and assembled an experienced and innovative content team that will cover esports from every angle.”
Yahoo Esports will be a comprehensive guide, combining editorial and video commentary, match pages, team rosters, stats, related schedules and scores. The site will also have a live chat feature where fans can connect with the community and cheer for their favorite teams. At launch, Yahoo Esports will focus its coverage around “League of Legends,” “Dota 2,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Heroes of the Storm,” and “Street Fighter V” with additional titles being added over time.
“Today, esports fans jump from place to place to understand what’s happening across professional gaming,” said Matt Edelman, Product Manager, Yahoo Esports. “We’re launching a comprehensive destination for esports fans everywhere, focused on delivering professional analysis, video content, live matches, team rosters, schedules, chat and more. And because esports is 24/7, we’ll hide all spoilers by default so fans can enjoy matches on their time.”
It’s an interesting idea to combine editorial content with stats and rosters in an attempt to create a one-stop eSports hub. ESPN’s vertical has some of that, specifically with schedules, but doesn’t seem to have dove as far into those other elements yet. Putting all of that content for a sport in one place feels like Yahoo’s traditional approach, but there are some significant differences here, including the video focus and the decision to hide spoilers (results) by default. There are also some questions about to what extent the eSports community will embrace more-traditional media outlets’ eSports coverage, considering that there are already a lot of eSports-specific sites out there. We’ll see how this works out for Yahoo, and if other big sports media organizations will join the eSports frenzy.
Disclaimer: Andrew also writes for Yahoo Canada Sports.