ESPN has a genuinely positive discussion about The International

A bit out of touch, but still positive

TI5 on SportsCenter from ESPN Interactive Games on Vimeo.

Last week saw Dota 2’s annual championship The International take place in Seattle, with a huge $18 million being up for grabs in prize money. It is by far one of the biggest events in eSports, and recent years have seen the game be put up alongside other sports like football and tennis in viewership numbers, prize pools, and dedication required by the players.

Unfortunately though, mainstream sports coverage has been pretty shit in regards to how it handles eSports — jokes about nerds in their mum’s basements eating Doritos, banging on about how it isn’t like Pac-Man, and other annoyingly dismissive comments.

Well, with the show SportsCenter on ESPN talking about The International, it looks like we’re making some headway with getting the legitimacy of eSports noticed. They’re still dubious about video games being watched, and they do talk about Donkey Kong a bit, but it all seems to be from a place of wanting to understand Dota 2 rather than mock it.

They even talk to Q13 Fox News’ sideline reporter at The International, who explains just what the game is and the culture behind it. It’s nice to see the game being discussed free of mockery, instead there being genuine interest in what The International is. The presenters even admit that they should learn more about the game for the future, which is fantastic.

It’s not perfect, but it certainly seems like progress from when president John Skipper said eSports aren’t sports, that’s for damn sure.

Joe Parlock