Alliance celebrates after winning a match at the International 3 on August 10, 2013 in Seattle, WA.
Welcome to mainstream television, e-sports.
Valve — one of the largest video game developers and makers of the online game distribution service, Steam — announced on Thursday that coverage of its international championship for its professional video game, Dota 2, will be presented on ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, ESPN 3.
At a time where professional gaming continues to grow in legitimacy, the collaboration between Valve and ESPN marks one of the first mainstream e-sports broadcasts and a sign of that continued growth.
Dota 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) video game where teams of five players compete to strategically attack an enemy team's guarded base. Along with Riot Games' League of Legends and Blizzard's Starcraft II, Dota 2 is currently one of the most popular video games in e-sports.
The annual Dota 2 international tournament — known simply as the International — pits top teams from North America, China and Europe against each other to determine the best Dota 2team in the world at a sold-out Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.
In particular, this year's International made e-sports history when fans and players of Dota 2 raised the tournament's prize pool from $1.6 million to more than $10.5 million through the sale of an in-game item called the Compendium.
"From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year's International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports," said Valve's Erik Johnson in a statement. "We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago."
Viewers can watch all the games of the four-day event starting July 18 to July 22 on ESPN 3, accessible online via the WatchESPN app.
In addition to the full tournament coverage on ESPN 3 and the WatchESPN app, viewers will be able to tune in to ESPN 2 on July 20 at 8:30 p.m. PT for an exclusive pre-show and preview of the tournament's grand final match. The preview will include highlights from games throughout the tournament, analysis provided by veteran Dota 2 experts and interviews with the players.
For more information about Dota 2, the International and the historic prize pool, you can read our more complete breakdown of the e-sport.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPORTS, GAMING, WATCHESPN