Counter-Strike had a two-year run on cable TV in America, along with a suite of other games. It was called the Championship Gaming Series, and many believed the league's collapse in 2008 spelled the end for eSports trying to wedge itself into a traditional broadcast format.
But a new report suggests that may no longer be the case, with a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league airing from next year on the TBS basic cable channel.
The Daily Dot posted late last night that Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner subsidiary responsible for airing Boomerang Australia and Cartoon Network Australia into our region, teamed up with the WME | IMG global agency to found the league.
Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels said the company was looking forward to "creating a tremendous live event atmosphere" and that eSports was "one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world".
The league will have two seasons next year, with the best CS:GO teams battling it out for 10 weeks at a time. The network's Bleacher Report app will reportedly be used to create digital content for the league, while additional programming on the players and their histories will reportedly be created as part of the venture.
Richard Lewis, who broke the story, added that the league will not ask players or teams to sign exclusivity clauses but will instead co-operate with Valve and other organisers to avoid scheduling and any other conflicts that might arise.
Jason Lake, the owner and founder of American eSports organisation Team CompLexity, posted on the CS:GO sub-Reddit that he, along with other team owners, had met with Turner executives in Atlanta and walked away with positive expectations.
"It's currently our belief that Turner is on a great path and will take eSports seriously," Lake wrote. "The people involved have a great deal of experience covering real sports and are super eager to help take gaming to the next level."
Lake also tweeted a couple of pictures of Turner's production facilities. He added in further comments that he believes the event will be hosted in front of a live audience, although many of the finer details are still being finalised.
The timing of the announcement is good news for Australia's top CS:GO teams. The players in Team Renegades left their previous organisation (Vox Eminor) to pursue an opportunity to move to the United States where they could broaden their range of competitions and potential winnings, while some of the players in Team Immunity have publicly spoken about their desire to follow in Renegades' footsteps.
Both Australian teams are currently competing in Stockholm, Sweden at a Dreamhack Open qualifier, with 8 teams receiving an all-expenses paid trip and place into DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca. Immunity's fate will be decided on the weekend, while Renegades played their group matches in the early hours this morning.