ESPN announced today that it will air several NBA 2K League games live on its ESPN2 channel. Matches will air every Tuesday at 7 PM EST through May 19th, while games slated for Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will air at 7PM EST on the ESPN app and ESPN.com. ESPN says it will announce broadcast details for games beginning May 26th at a later date.
Esports is having its moment — ESPN says this is the first time NBA 2K League games will be broadcasted live on television. The sports network aired 12 hours of esports coverage back on April 5th as it looked for content to fill the void left by traditional sports leagues being canceled indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Esports was for a long time dismissed as not real sporting, but industrywide revenue surpassed a billion dollars last year with viewership expected to grow 9 percent annually through 2023 to 646 million viewers.
COVID-19 is no match for ESPN — You'd think that ESPN would be hurting pretty badly right now considering the circumstances, but counterintuitively analysts say its business is doing quite well.
The network is still raking in billions of dollars from cable customers paying for access to live sports despite the fact that ESPN is not actually spending any money, you know, airing games. The New York Attorney General has called for cable providers to cut the fees they're charging customers for ESPN, however.