DotA 2 just helped push eSports further into the mainstream, as ESPN3 online will be broadcasting DotA 2 games during the International finals. On top of that, a preview of the final will be shown on ESPN2 before hand, giving many millions of Americans the chance to figure out if they like the idea of digital sports being put alongside real world ones.
"From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year's International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports," said Valve's Erik Johnson. "We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago."
If the new viewers don't like the idea of the game itself, they might be able to get behind the fact that so much money is at stake. With almost $5 million up for grabs for the winning team and over $10 million in total, this year's International is the biggest eSports prize pool ever.
If you've seen the documentary Free to Play too, you'll know that this represents unprecedented growth. From the original DotA 2 International in 2011, with a million dollar grand prize, here we are with nearly five times that much up for grabs, just three years later.
If you don't have ESPN through your cable connection, you can watch the International footage through the channel's application on your smartphone, or through other services like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku or your Xbox console.
Some fans have expressed concerns about how ESPN sportscasters will handle the broadcast. Will they bring in experts to talk about it like the official twitch streams do, or will it merely be a bunch of traditional sports guys poking fun at this gaming generation's sporting heroes?