Disney is bringing the world of online competitive gaming just a bit closer to mainstream entertainment. This week, Disney XD will launch a brand-new programming block geared towards gaming and esports content, called D|XP.
With its launch, D|XP will broadcast the Super Smash Bros. 4 Finals on Sunday, live from the Evolution Championship Series 2017 (also known as Evo 2017) tournament hosted in Las Vegas; this will be followed by Street Fighter V, which will be aired live on television for the first time.
Evo 2017 is the world’s largest annual fighting game tournament, and this year it will feature a total of nine fighting games: Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, Injustice 2, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, King of Fighters XIV, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
It’s obvious that not all of these titles are appropriate for the channel’s audience – perhaps that’s why D|XP will only air events for two of the titles, both of which are relatively tame in terms of gore.
A few other mainstream television channels have also tried their hands on streaming esports events in the past couple of years; ESPN has aired Evo’s Street Fighter finals before – but not live – and also aired Dota 2’s The International tournament in 2014. The CW, known for hosting DC’s TV universe with shows like Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, aired an H1Z1 tournament just a few months ago.
Airing esports tournaments on mainstream television may bring some tough competition for online streaming services like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Mixer, where gamers usually get to watch these events. However, for channels like Disney XD who must abide by their younger demographics, it may be a long time before we see tournaments for games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive aired live on the big screen.