CBS Interactive and its GameSpot subsidiary have entered the eSports market after securing key partnerships with game broadcasting network TwitchTV and eSports league Major League Gaming.
This move into the competitive gaming scene pits GameSpot against News Corp.'s IGN Entertainment, also a consumer game news site that has a major presence in the eSports space with its IGN Pro League.
CBS Interactive's exclusive partnership with TwitchTV will allow it to sell advertising, promotions, and sponsorships for the online broadcasting network. TwitchTV streams its live game content to some 16 million people around the world.
The online media company has also signed a deal with MLG to handle advertising representation, and to serve as the exclusive broadcaster for the league's Pro Circuit competitions, which draws hundreds of thousands of viewers.
CBS Interactive claims it now has the most engaged video property for gamers, and says its TwitchTV partnership increases its reach to 25 million users watching live game content each month. It also describes MLG as the most prominent eSports league in the world.
IGN, however, put out an announcement on Tuesday claiming that IGN Pro League is the biggest eSports league after reaching 346,000 concurrent online viewers with its IPL 4 tournament two weeks ago. MLG attracted its biggest audience, over 241,000 concurrent online viewers, during its Providence National Championships tournament last November.
IGN says its three-day IPL 4 tournament attracted the largest-ever online viewership for an eSports event held outside of Korea, and brought in 3 million unique online viewers. The physical event held in Las Vegas also sold out its venue and hosted more than 10,000 spectators.
Both companies expect the popularity of competitive gaming to continue to rise, and CBS says eSports events are already rapidly attracting the core 18-34 male demographic in larger numbers than any other video category. IGN says its goal is to help legitimize eSports as a profession that can produce the next generation of celebrities.