Thinking of "CBS" and "sports" conjures up images of quiet rounds of golf, or the contained frenzy of a college basketball game. Now, however, CBS Interactive is throwing its hat into the world of virtual competitions, focusing its energies on the rapidly growing world of eSports.
Competitive gaming is growing rapidly, here in the early years of the 21st century, and CBS wants in on it. This morning, they announced partnerships with both TwitchTV and Major League Gaming, making CBS Interactive the sole online broadcaster of Major League Gaming's Pro Circuit events and the sole seller of advertising for the streaming service.
The rise of spectator eSports spells money for broadcasters of the games. The Major League Gaming scene is quite popular with the perennial favorite advertising demographic of young men 18-34, and its audiences are devoted, staying tuned in for long periods of time. According to CBS, viewers tune into live gaming competitions for 23 minutes at a stretch, as compared to a three-minute average for other types of internet video.
More impressively, CBS claims that across their own sites only, they serve up more than 3 billion minutes of streaming game-related video per month to their visitors, a number which they hope to increase.
Competitive gaming still has its naysayers, but the allure that a well-played match of StarCraft II or Mortal Kombat has for a number of players and spectators can't be understated. Video games are an industry worth billions of dollars, and despite setbacks and challenges along the way, eSports continues every year to become a bigger part of that world.