The live broadcast of The International 2014 on ESPN was a clear sign of just how deeply esports had penetrated the mainstream consciousness. The network was reportedly “delighted” by the response to its coverage, and so it came as something of a surprise when ESPN President John Skipper pronounced shortly thereafter that esports are not actually a sport at all.
But I guess that's all water under the bridge now, as ESPN launched a full-blown esports section on its site today, with links for coverage of League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. The rollout comes less than two weeks after Activision made its own big move into the esports scene with the $46 million purchase of Major League Gaming, which CEO Bobby Kotick said at the time "furthers our plan to create the ESPN of esports."
Sorry Bobby, I think that ship just sailed.
There's no link (that I can see) to reports on other games on the site so far, but midway down the page there's a video recap of the 2015 StarCraft 2 WCS finals at BlizzCon, suggesting that it will at least occasionally branch out beyond the Big Three.
I'm obliged to point out that we offer extensive and in-depth esports coverage of our own in our dedicated Pro section, and think we do an awfully good job of it. Even so, ESPN's entry into the fray—and, more importantly, the continued mainstreaming of esports that it signals—is good news for everyone, and we welcome them to the party.