BBC Three to broadcast ESL One Birmingham finals

BBC Three, the online-only arm of the BBC, will broadcast the ESL One Birmingham Dota 2 semifinals on Saturday, May 26 at 2pm and the final on Sunday, May 27th at 3pm. The deal marks a first for BBC Three hosting an ESL event.

This is not the first time BBC Three has hosted esports, however, they hosted the Gfinity Elite Series, including live text updates on BBC Sport. The site also hosted the League of Legends World Championship in London back in 2015. The ESL One Birmingham event will be available to UK resident on the BBC Three website and BBC iPlayer.

BBC Three’s coverage will be hosted by BBC Radio 1 presenter and Vlogger, Julia Hardy, with Dota 2 casters Gareth “Gareth” Bateson and Shane “Shaneomad” Clarke providing their knowledge to viewers.

Speaking about the event, Julia Hardy, BBC Host, had this to say: “I’m so excited to be involved in BBC Three’s Dota 2 coverage. The esports world is always such an exciting place to be and is somewhere that brings joy to millions all over the world. I’m really excited to be involved in bringing the passion and the edge-of-your-seat esports moments to a whole new audience.”

Max Gogarty, Executive Editor, BBC Three, added: “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.”

James Dean, MD ESL UK, spoke about the announcement: “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”.

Esports Insider says: BBC Three has a focus on a younger audience, it’s just a shame this deal comes at a time when BBC Three only has an online-only presence after it was taken off air in 2016. If the show is presented like their League of Legends content back in 2015, viewers can expect a more casual approach, explaining simple game mechanics to first-time viewers, which is exactly what a service like BBC Three should offer their audience.