“The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals,” said John Lasker, ESPN Digital Media's VP of programming and acquisitions. “We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this exciting event to fans.”
More than 5000 people are signed up to take part in the SF5 tournament, a record-setting mark for a single game at Evo. “Evo is ecstatic to be able to have a wider audience share in the energy and excitement of our Street Fighter world finals," Evo CEO Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar added.
It's a big change from the days, less than two years ago, when ESPN honcho John Skipper dismissed esports as “not a sport,” despite the network's success with its groundbreaking broadcast of The International 2014. Now, of course, ESPN is all-in on esports, and I have no doubt that we'll see televised coverage of major events become much more common in the future.
ESPN2's live coverage of the Street Fighter V World Championship at Evo 2016 will begin at 7 pm PT/10 pm ET on July 17. All of Sunday's finals, including the SF5 event, will also be broadcast on Twitch. And in case you missed it, the SF5 1.04 patch, including the Cinematic Story mode, two new characters, stages, costumes, matchmaking improvements, and the in-game currency shop, is now yours for the taking.