One of the challenges with televised esports is trying to get new fans in the door, and Turner is certainly aiming at that with their latest ELEAGUE effort. ELEAGUE (the Turner/Endeavor partnership that’s aired across TBS and Twitch since 2016) has leaned into feature and reality content before as ways to tell the stories of the competitors (long a focus for them), and they’re doing that again with the six-part ELEAGUE: Road to the Rocket League World Championship series this fall. But one particularly interesting element here is that the first two episodes will premiere on TBS directly following MLB postseason coverage on Friday, Oct. 4 and Friday, Oct. 11, and that the third (on Friday, Oct. 18) could get a postseason lead-in as well if a game is played that day.
We’ve seen ELEAGUE in particular bring in some names from the general sports world, from a celebrity Street Fighter V tournament featuring Shaq, Jimmy Rollins, Baron Davis and Natalie Eva Marie to Jeremy Lin showing up on the 2017 ELEAGUE: Road to The International series. But it’s notable to see them have a general sports lead-in on this level, and quite a high audience one; MLB postseason games tend to do pretty big numbers. Not all of that audience is going to stick around, especially when they find esports features are coming up next, but there may be some who do, and the focus on telling the stories of competitors and families here might add some interest even for those who are new to esports. Here’s more from the release:
ELEAGUE | Road to the Rocket League World Championship – part of the wide-ranging content, business and event partnership between ELEAGUE and San Diego video game developer Psyonix – will provide fans more access than ever before to one of the most prized competitions in esports, the final stage of the RLCS, the Rocket League World Championship. Camera crews followed nine teams as they traveled to New Jersey to determine the world’s top three-person team in front of a stadium audience.
In its six one-hour shows, the ELEAGUE series will delve into the fierce competition at the Season Seven Rocket League World Championship from the perspectives of players and their families, including the unique dynamic of how a family participates in an emerging esports athlete’s growing stardom.
And here’s a preview clip:
The first shows here will premiere Oct. 4 and Oct. 11 after MLB postseason coverage, with the third premiering Oct. 18 at 11 p.m. ET/PT (or after MLB postseason coverage if that game becomes necessary) and the series concluding with further episodes Oct. 25, Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 at 11 p.m. ET/PT. There also will be a further two-part Rocket League program on TBS at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Dec. 13 and 20, with details on that coming later. We’ll see how this works out for ELEAGUE, but it certainly speaks to the series’ continuing prominence that it’s getting featured after TBS’ MLB postseason games.