The BBC has partnered with the ESL to broadcast semi-final and final live matches from the UK’s first Dota 2 major in Birmingham this year.
Matches will air on BBC Three, the broadcaster’s digital channel, with semi-finals this Saturday at 2pm BST and the grand finals at 3pm BST Sunday. Viewers will be able to watch the matches online through the BBC Three website and BBC iPlayer. This is the first time an ESL Dota 2 Major has taken place in the UK, and teams will compete for their share of a $1 million prize pool.
BBC Three executive editor Max Gogarty said: “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.”
Coverage on BBC Three will be fronted by Radio One presenter Julia Hardy, working alongside Dota 2 casters Gareth “Gareth” Bateson and Shane “Shaneomad” Clarke. Coverage will include live commentary of the semi-finals and grand finals, alongside interviews with top players between matches.
James Dean, MD of ESL UK, said: “With over 25m gamers in the UK, it’s fantastic to have the BBC supporting ESL One Birmingham. 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”.
This weekend’s matches are crucial for teams involved. Excitement for The International 2018 has been ramping up with Valve going out of their way to make this the biggest year so far. Placement in Dota 2 Majors awards points, which determine which teams get an invite to The International each year.