The Revolution, Street Fighter V Finals Will Be Televised Live on ESPN2

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Competitive gaming, AKA eSports, has exploded in popularity in recent years in lock-step with the popularity of online game streaming and viewership. The two have a fairly symbiotic relationship at this point, and regular TV hasn’t really been involved a whole lot, but this year’s Evo fighting game tournament is turning into such a huge event that ESPN 2 will air the Street Fighter V finals.

As awesome as that is, though, Street Fighter V is only one of nine games that will be played at Evo 2016, which will take place July 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada. Games we won’t be seeing (at least as far as we know) on television are Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat X, Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, Pokken Tournament, Killer Instinct, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for WiiU, and Tekken 7: Fated Retribution. Although, perhaps that extensive games list is what makes the Internet such a better place to view eSports in the first place, and the recognition is still nice after ESPN’s president once said eSports weren’t “real sports.”

Anyway, on July 17, ESPN2 will air the closing matches of Evo’s Street Fighter V bracket, with John Lasker, ESPN Digital Media’s vice president of programming and acquisitions, John Lasker, saying, “The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals. We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this event to fans.” He’s pretty on-point about the “must-see” nature, as Evo 2016 has already broken tournament registration records for number of participants with over 5,000 entrants in SFV alone.

Despite those previous comments by ESPN’s president, this is hardly the first time the network has gotten involved with eSports, with their recent online eSports arm and televising other games in the past, such as Heroes of the Storm. That HotS coverage has some gamers and fans a bit worried, though, as ESPN was the only place to watch that year’s Heroes of the Dorm tournament, leaving regular Twitch viewers out in the cold if they didn’t have a standard TV subscription with ESPN. We’ve reached out to ESPN for comment on whether or not they’ll be the exclusive home of the Street Fighter V finals and will update when we receive a response.

[UPDATE:] A representative from ESPN has told us that the network does not have exclusive rights to the Street Fighter V finals, meaning they can still be watched online, as well.

(via SRK, image via Capcom)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.