PlayStation Vue subscribers who enjoy watching professional video gamers strut their stuff will soon have access to a dedicated channel from esports company ESL that will broadcast game competitions 24/7.
Launching later this month, the esportsTV channel will offer broadcasts of the 2017 Intel Extreme Masters tour, among other tournaments. Esports has exploded in popularity recently, especially in Europe, where the esportsTV channel is already available from some satellite TV providers. ESL estimates that esports viewership will make up more than 10 percent of all US sports viewing by 2020.
EsportsTV will only be available to subscribers of the PlayStation Vue Elite channel, which costs $55 per month. That's a significant premium over the base $39 streaming option, and likely won't be worth signing up for if you're just interested in ESL content, since many of the tournaments it broadcasts can be viewed for free on streaming platforms like Twitch.
Still, the ability to watch esports on a regular TV channel—albeit an internet streaming one—will appeal to casual viewers who already use PlayStation Vue as their main source of TV. PlayStation Vue Elite also includes a range of Fox Sports channels and BBC World News, among other premium offerings.
The addition of esportsTV is also a minor consolation prize for Sony's elimination last fall of all Viacom-owned networks from the PlayStation Vue platform, including Comedy Central, Spike, and MTV. Launched in 2014 as a relative novelty, the streaming TV service now competes against several similar offerings from high-profile competitors, including DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and the recently unveiled YouTube TV.