The BBC will partner with ESL, the world’s biggest esports company, to broadcast the semi-final and final live matches from the UK’s first Dota 2 major – a record-breaking tournament that will see a dozen world-class teams compete for a $1m prize pool.
The corporation’s digital channel, BBC Three, will stream the semi-finals at 2pm on Saturday 26th May and grand final at 3pm on Sunday 27th May. The live clashes from ESL One will be available to watch online on the BBC Three website and on BBC iPlayer. It will mark the first time that ESL events have been shown live on the BBC, and marks an exciting next step in the growth of esports in the United Kingdom.
BBC Three’s coverage will be fronted by BBC Radio 1 Presenter and vlogger Julia Hardy with professional Dota 2 caster Gareth “Gareth” Bateson and Shane “Shaneomad” Clarke guiding the viewers through the semi-final and final clashes. Alongside showcasing the best Dota 2 teams going up against each other to win the overall prize, there will be interviews with world-class players in attendance so viewers can soak up the atmosphere from one of the world’s biggest and most vibrant esports events.
The teams aren’t just competing for their share of the $1m prize pool at ESL One Birmingham. There are 1,500 Dota Pro Circuit points available at ESL One Birmingham, and the event comes at a crucial time of the season – it’s the penultimate event before The International 2018 takes place in Vancouver in August and will see teams competing for an £8m prize pool.
Fans attending ESL One Birmingham won’t just be able to watch the final rounds in the arena. The event will also feature signing sessions with top players, a cosplay contest and competitions where fans can win upgraded seats, backstage tours, talent meet-and-greets and exclusive merchandise.
Max Gogarty, Executive Editor, BBC Three, says: “As esports continues its rapid growth amongst young audiences, BBC Three’s coverage of it is evolving. We’re proud to bring live Dota 2 matches to the UK mainstream and we’re excited to be collaborating with BBC Sport as they bring their high production values to this unique event.”
Julia Hardy, BBC Host says: “I’m so excited to be involved in BBC Three’s Dota 2 coverage. The esports world is always such an exciting place to be and is somewhere that brings joy to millions all over the world. I’m really excited to be involved in bringing the passion and the edge-of-your-seat esports moments to a whole new audience.”
“With over 25m gamers in the UK, it’s fantastic to have the BBC supporting ESL One Birmingham,” said James Dean, MD ESL UK. “BBC Three will be covering the finals at a much more accessible level so viewers without in-depth knowledge of Dota 2 can still enjoy the action and learn what’s going on”.