Yahoo Targets Growing eSports Audience with New Video Site

While the future of Yahoo’s media operations remains in flux, the company continues to invest in key vertical segments, the latest of which is an eSports gaming news and video site. Yahoo Esports initially plans to cover “League of Legends” (Riot Games), “Heroes of the Storm” (Blizzard Entertainment), “Street Fighter V” (Capcom), and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and “Dota 2” (Valve). With the growing success of eSports, media companies such as ESPN and Turner Broadcasting are also entering the market.

According to researcher Newzoo, the worldwide audience for competitive online gaming topped 226 million people last year.

“In January, ESPN launched an eSports site, and is re-teaming with Activision Blizzard to televise the ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ collegiate eSports competition,” reports Variety. “Meanwhile, ELeague sports venture from Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG plans to kick off its first event May 24.”

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Yahoo Esports will cover live tournaments and feature player interviews and commentary. Fans can also turn to the site for player rankings, stats and calendars — similar to Yahoo’s offerings for professional sports leagues, such as MLB, NFL and NBA.

“We want to be the premiere destination for eSports, for those fans and communities,” said Bob Condor, VP of Yahoo Sports Media. “I make no pretensions that coming out of launch we will be that site. It’s critical to understand what fans want for each of these games… I think we’ll see how they respond to what we do as opposed to what any competitor does.”

While Yahoo continues to shutter digital magazines and its Smart TV and Games businesses, CEO Marissa Mayer says the company will focus on news, finance, sports and lifestyle.