ESPN has finally begun to embrace eSports, and after showcasing Heroes of the Storm, the network even launched a section of its site devoted entirely to gaming. But it looks like the sports giant’s jump into competitive gaming is about to get even bigger, as it will be featuring the Halo World Championship during its famous X Games in Aspen.
Over the course of three days, eight teams — six American, one British, and one German — will compete at X Games Aspen in “The Gaming Shack.” $30,000 is up for grabs in prize money, and while the event “will not contribute points or change placements for the regional finals,” it will be a part of X Games coverage on ESPN, just like any other sport.
“Gaming plays a big role in the youth culture,” says ESPN’s Tim Reed while presumably wearing a “Music Band” t-shirt. “The Halo World Championship Tour: X Games Aspen Invitational nicely complements the world-class action sports competition and musical elements at the X Games.”
Of course, what probably would have made sense for competitive gaming at the X Games (though, admittedly, not the winter version) is an entry in the Tony Hawk franchise. The skater has remarkable history at the Games, including completing the first recognized 900, but the horrendous quality of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 most likely means this won’t happen. Maybe they’ll give Ride or Shred a try, instead.
This level of eSports commitment was exactly what former ESPN host Colin Cowherd was apparently afraid of. He recently published a video clip from his show on his YouTube channel titled “eSports is for booger-eaters.” Although he threatened to leave ESPN after the network began airing coverage of games like Heroes of the Storm, he was fired after making racist comments toward Dominican baseball players back in July.
The Halo Wold Championship at X Games Aspen takes place from January 28 through January 31.