Last month we reported that Eleague is hosting a Dota 2 documentary series during the International, and we recently spoke to EVP and CCO at Turner Sports Craig Barry about the motivations behind the series, and it all has to do with getting the human stories of esports across.
"From a philosophical approach to Eleague, we wanted to offer a unique and diverse breath of content, and obviously we've done Counter-Strike tournaments and Street Fighter tournaments, we've altered the formats of some of those games, but we definitely felt like, at the core, being able to tell stories with rich narratives is a super important part of connecting to the community and staying authentic," Barry explained.
"And for Dota 2 we saw an opportunity to kind of go to the International, and we have shows at least stateside [...] kind of all-access shows where they're following pro teams in the NFL or boxers, and it creates this all-access look into a day in the life of an athlete. And so we felt there was an opportunity in the lead up to follow two teams that were going to the International [...] and then to tell those stories concurrently, while the International was going on, and what this does is it kind of creates, specifically on broadcast, an opportunity for a casual fan to be more emotionally engaged in esports through storylines and characters."
"We understand that this is a native digital community and property, and so broadcast for us becomes an opportunity to connect through a portal with the casual fan and to approach esports with either a storyline approach or an educational approach [...] so that's why this experiment around Dota 2, or this approach around Dota 2, is super important, because it's proven that people care about content and the storytelling ability of esports."
Do you think that stories are the most important thing to engage casual audiences with esports?