TV 2 ZULU and TV 2 PLAY have acquired the Danish rights for esports tournaments produced by ESL and DreamHack, making them ready for more than 700 hours of esports in 2019. At the same time, TV 2 SPORT and TV 2 PLAY have entered into a three-year agreement for the rights to X Games.
With the acquisition of several new rights in esports, TV 2 has already secured a number of new and attractive offers for younger media users from 2019.
In December 2018, TV 2 acquired the rights for CS:GO tournaments (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) from ESL and DreamHack, as well as for the first major of the year, starting in Katowice, Poland, at the end of February.
TV 2 has rights to a total of 25 tournaments and more than 700 hours of esports. Thus, TV 2 ZULU holds the rights to the biggest and most successful tournament formats in the world.
“One of our main goals is to establish esports as the number one sport in the world,” said Ralf Reichert, Co-CEO of ESL. “We are happy to finally be in a unique position to significantly expand the reach and impact of our industry and we are thrilled to bring our tournaments to the Danish market by partnering with TV 2. With our CS:GO tournaments being distributed on national television, ESL took an important step towards engaging new audiences. We are extremely proud to showcase some of the best moments of esports history to the local community.”
Esports can be watched on TV 2 ZULU and TV 2 SPORT (and both of course on TV 2 PLAY) respectively. The Danish coverage is carried out by the TV 2 SPORT editorial board, and according to TV 2's content director, Anne Engdal Stig Christensen, it "improves the products" for the benefit of viewers and users. “Esports attracts a big and growing interest among young people and the population in general, and at TV 2 we will give viewers and users a quality product and a high-quality experience when we cover esports”, says Anne Engdal Stig Christensen.
“The fact that esports is being broadcasted on national TV is evidence of it being mainstream content with a broad appeal. TV 2 shows that they grasp the value of our content and to bring the viewers that they demand the most, more esports in mainstream media,” said DreamHack CEO Marcus Lindmark then adding: “I am really proud, but not at all surprised, that DreamHack content is available on more and more platforms and services internationally.”
"The perfect right for TV 2 ZULU to embrace"
In 2018, TV 2 ZULU has broadcast three major Counter-Strike tournaments, and the experience is that esports lifts ZULU's audience shares among the 15-40-year-olds to about twice the normal audience level. 38 percent of viewers of esports are between 21 and 30 years - an even greater percentage of youngsters than usual at ZULU.
“At ZULU we are hugely focused on what fills the mind of our target audience. It is very important for us to take our users' interests seriously, and therefore we have historically covered the online game category on several occasions. Now the category has found a brand-new level and has been professionally impressed with esports. And combined with the event- and live-feel that the tournaments naturally possess, esportsisthe perfect right for TV 2 ZULU to embrace”, says Sune Roland Jensen, channel manager for both TV 2 ZULU and TV 2 PLAY. He continues:
“We are very satisfied that TV 2 has managed to secure the strongest TV rights in esports for ZULU. It perfectly matches our desire to complement our already strong plan with the big peaks that big live sports can provide a TV channel. We introduced the Danes to American football in the 00's. Now it's esports that will be embraced on ZULU with the same nerdy love and enthusiasm.”
Great ambitions for esports coverage
TV 2's Sports Director, Frederik Lauesen, says:
“Our ambition at TV 2 is that esports should be for TV 2 ZULU, what Tour de France and cycling in general have been for TV 2. Tour de France provides space for the nude coverage while we are close to history, culture, riders, teams and the game between them. We cover esports with high professionalism, as we do with other sporting events, and we will come close to the event and the participants.”
Editorial director Allan Hvid, TV 2 SPORT, has the overall responsibility for TV 2's esports coverage, which will both attract the experienced Counter-Strike enthusiasts and those who are curious about the game. “Esports is already very strong today, but we would like to have an even bigger audience. It takes some time to learn Counter-Strike, but it is not that difficult. It took me 1½ tournament to understand the tactics and the game, and once you've broken the code, Counter-Strike is more or less the most entertaining you can watch. There's pay off every time, and there's always plenty of rounds and battles to compete in”, says Allan Hvid.