In a report from GamesNation, SuperSport has revealed a partnership with international Esports broadcasting company GINX. The report also mentions that SuperSport will be working with GINX on a more local coverage level, with all this set to start as soon as April 2017.
This isn’t the first time that SuperSport has tried its hand at Esports, with the channel broadcasting the IEM World Championship that took place in Poland in 2016 and, even though the experience was watered down to just a highlight reel, it was still great to see it on TV.
However, a distinct lack of news coverage by DSTv and SuperSport themselves does beg the question, how are SuperSport looking to broadcast Esports?
The article from GamesNation brings up the point that SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane said they were “just dipping their toes in the water” previously, and he is aware they are competing squarely in the domain of the Internet, though, what this means for upcoming coverage really is anybody’s guess at this point. Something as major as starting an Esports network would surely require all the details to be made by the authority, in this case SuperSport or DStv, however, as of yet, there has been no real confirmation by either.
Michiel Bakker, CEO of GINX confirmed the move in an email to Telkom Gaming, stating they are “Very excited about joining DSTV and bringing GINX Esports TV to Africa” but did not elaborate on any further details.
The Harsh Truth is that gamers tend to steer clear of DStv and SuperSport. Sure, having family that can point out to their peers “Hey, my son plays that game” is encouraging but, for the majority of people interested in Esports, we have Internet and streaming services such as Twitch.TV who can provide the full tournament experience for only the cost of your internet connection.
Gamers are stuck in an era where they can watch what they want, when they want. Open up Twitch.tv or YouTube and you can be instantly entertained and, unlike some major drawbacks of TV (such as frequent adverts, breaks and lower video quality), viewers really are spoiled for choice without being limited to what a TV channel can supply.
The last Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major was hosted by ELeague, who had a deal with TBS, a giant TV and Broadcasting network. The games were broadcast to bars, restaurants and events around the world.
That situation is completely different in the South African gaming scene. I, personally, would love to go out and be able to catch some CS:GO on TV while eating however, in reality, we have one or two places that are gamer-focused, and a number that has already had to close their doors due to lack of major support.
Places such as the Nexus Cafe, a gamers paradise (besides their own room), provide a safe place for like-minded individuals to relax and watch some of their favourite Esports and, with half the fun of Esports being sharing it with others (be it in a venue such as this or in a live chat room), taking that experience to the couch doesn’t create nearly the amount of immersion as watching it on your favourite stream/or at one of these venues might.
Having SuperSport involved might help grow the local esports scene but it needs to do so in the correct way and, until such time that we have confirmation from DStv or SuperSport themselves about what kind of coverage we can expect, we will hedge our bets on their success.