In case you didn't know, today is the final day of action for the Evolution Championship Series. That's the world's largest collection of fighting game tournaments, and it's also one of the most prestigious -- and exciting -- events on the esports calendar.
EVO always makes for good viewing. And because fighting games are quickly and easily understood, it also fits really well with traditional broadcast media. So that's what ESPN 2 is doing right now -- and regular ESPN 2 fans are a bit crabby about it.
It's making for a fun battle on social media: EVO and esports fans thrilled at the spotlight being given to games like Super Smash Bros. Melee and Street Fighter V, and other sporting fans livid at the network's apparent stupidity.
There is the small fact that ESPN 2 has been showing alternatives to regular sport for years, as one user noted:
I remember when ESPN 2 back in the day when it showed REAL sports and not this video game crap pic.twitter.com/6yeDf0iut1
— Devour (@DevourerOfTime) July 18, 2016
But that hasn't stopped a litany of complaints nonetheless.
— old_gus (@old_gus) July 18, 2016
LOL they got the Nerd Olympics on ESPN 2 again!
— Urban Diesel (@BamBamBoucher) July 18, 2016
Why the fuck are retards watching sports let alone on ESPN 2? Go watch sports on ESPN 1
— Jackie Chin (@TheJackieChin) July 18, 2016
Whatever is on ESPN 2 is the worst fucking thing ever
— Chris Bradish (@chrisbradish) July 18, 2016
Why is Street Fighter on ESPN2 right now? Put some real games on there if you're going to show eSports.
— Dylan (@YesItsDyl) July 18, 2016
Watch ESPN 2 tomorrow night, when a family from Scranton, PA plays Connect 4 and then Mouse Trap
— Markos_Anderson (@Markos_Anderson) July 18, 2016
But while some of the rage on social media is worth a laugh, so are some of the replies.
— dhamster (@dhamster) July 18, 2016
ESPN 2 has broadcasted Poker and the Spelling Bee. These people just want to be mad, they don't want to understand. We don't need them.
— Lyric @ #EVO2016 (@emformz) July 18, 2016
Good for ESPN 2 for showing better stuff than poker, bowling, and spelling.
— Chase Davis (@CDGSU) July 18, 2016
Let's be real here...what else will ESPN2 show in place of Evo? Poker? Billiards? World's Strongest Man? Lumberjack competition?
— Tommy To (@Tommy44Vercetti) July 18, 2016
tbh what were you gonna watch on ESPN2 at 11 PM on a sunday night anyways..
why do people get so mad about this stuff
— ミーム (@allstarsports1_) July 18, 2016
As ESPN continues to double down on esports, we'll see more of this kind of division and confusion from ESPN's regular audience. But all of the future projections and investment from sports into video games and esports aside, the strong argument remains: American sports is having a bit of a quiet period right now. Why not fill the void with super passionate gamers, especially in the late hours of the evening?