The ESL Mortal Kombat X Pro League Finals may have concluded, but the story is far from over. Throughout the season, a documentary crew from Machinima with the full cooperation of Warner Bros. followed five of the Pro League competitors as they battled their way through to the Finals to get the story from the other side of the screen and dive into the personal stories behind these players.
The resulting series, “Chasing the Cup” began airing on January 28 via the CW’s digital platform, CW Seed, and the series finale will broadcast on-air on February 15 on The CW from 8:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern. This marks the first time in history that a show dedicated to esports will air in primetime on network television, and we could not be prouder of that accomplishment.
This represents a quantum stride forward in legitimizing esports to the mass market, and will expose entirely new audiences to the phenomenon that players have known about and been a part of for years. While gaming events like ESL One have been filling stadiums on a regular basis, breaking the primetime network barrier is a huge accomplishment.
In the past, playing video games professionally meant possibly winning a title in name only, and in some cases a small cash prize. But thanks to the meteoric growth of esports, solo champions like SonicFox are now taking home life-changing sums that represent the cost of a four-year college degree, freeing them from the shackles of student loans and paving the way for a full-time career in gaming, something that did not exist until recently.
“Chasing the Cup” will also put more muscle, pun intended, behind the “is esports really a sport?” argument. According to ESL producer Joshua Gray, “The technical precision required to compete in the MKX Pro League is astonishing. Competitors have fractions of a second to read their opponent, make a decision, and perform with perfection in Mortal Kombat X. One block, one combo, even one mistake can dramatically change the outcome of a match.”
Regarding “Chasing the Cup” breaking the network barrier, Gray added “It’s been a monumental experience for ESL to produce two seasons of the MKX Pro League for the online audience. As we witness the growth of esports around the world I am overjoyed to see a thrilling competition with a compelling story ready to be told on The CW.”