ESPN’s coverage of The International 5 is befuddled, but not condescending

Dota 2 Tournament 2017
Dota 2 The International/Flickr
Evil Geniuses won the fifth annual Dota 2 International tournament. The North American team defeated the Chinese CDEC in a 3-1 best-of-5 Grand Finals series, taking home $6.6 million out of a whopping $18.3 million prize pool. That is substantially more money at stake than at Wimbledon, the Masters, and the Kentucky Derby, as ESPN’s SportsCenter pointed out in its befuddled-but-earnest coverage of the event.

The sporadic mainstream media coverage of eSports over the past few years, provided as the field has grown too large to ignore entirely, has often been dismissive in tone. This snide segment on the 2013 League of Legends world championship from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel was rife with quips about Star Trek. One panelist immediately writes it off as a game and not a sport, without ever offering any explanation concerning that famously non-obvious distinction.

ESPN’s segment is just as inexpert, but the anchors express genuine curiosity about what the game is and why so many people are so excited about it, which is a small but positive step toward eSports achieving some degree of mainstream legitimacy.

international prize pool


Leading with the money as a natural hook, they bring in Seattle news anchor Kaci Aitchison, who covered the International over the preceding few years as a presenter and reporter, to explain the game and the event. Aitchison outlined the basic rules and structure of the game, emphasizing its strategic complexity, the variability created by the range of characters, and the amount of dedication required of its players to compete at this level. She goes on to explain how the prize pool was generated by the community through purchases of in-game items.

As someone who was equally in the dark about eSports before covering the event, Aitchison is a perfect bridge into understanding the game for the anchors whose video game references go no further than Pac-Man and Centipede. The conversation should ring familiar to anyone who has tried to explain modern technology to older, less savvy, but well-meaning relatives.

While this doesn’t mean that ESPN will be hiring a dedicated eSports commentator any time soon, it’s a step in the right direction. The network regularly covers poker, after all (and is that any less or more of a sport?), and The International has drawn comparable viewership to the World Series of Poker in recent years.

You can watch the segment below.


You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Stream UFC Fight Night 143 for free with this ESPN+ trial offer

If you're looking for a way to watch UFC Fight Night 143 and other upcoming sporting events on mobile, then ESPN's premium mobile service has you covered, and you can even take advantage of a seven-day trial to stream it totally free.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!