Esports may not be quite as big as the World Cup yet, but in Finland it gets the same platform as traditional sports, and that will only increase in 2018. News breaking today in Finland is great for esports in that part of the world, with national TV station YLE having acquired the broadcast rights to a slew of major CSGO events.
The list includes the Faceit Majors, Blast Pro League, Dreamhack Stockholm and ESL One Cologne. The latter will be of particular interest to those fans who have decided that Facebook is the enemy, and spend increasing amounts of time working out how to watch games without visiting the social media platform. In fairness to them, while ESL have done a great job on Facebook, there is a lot that can be improved about their service, and deals like this should encourage them to improve.
According to the press release from seul.fi, which is the Finnish esports federation, ‘Gaming and e-sports programs will be featured on Yle TV2, Arena, FTW Livese and Kioski Game Kits, e-Sport Weekly Program and Retropel Series.’ In addition to the international events, they will continue to show Finnish events as well, which should aid in the development of Finland’s next generation of esports professionals.
Revival of Finnish CSGO
The CSGO broadcasts will be presented by Teemu ‘wabbit’ Hiilinen and Juha ‘aNgeldusT’ Kurppa, with former pros like Joona "natu" Leppänen and Jenny Kåla lined up to provide analysis. This all comes on the back of the revival of the Finnish ENCE organisation (founded by the aforementioned wabbit, who today works for SEUL), who signed an all-Finnish team with former NiP and FaZe man Aleksi ‘allu’ Jalli as the headliner recently in an attempt to put the nation back on the esports map.
Finland has a history of producing top players, with Allu, natu and mousesports star Miikka ‘suNny’ Kemppi among the highest profile, with a number of them having moved into other prominent esports roles. Tomi ‘lurppis’ Kovanen, a Finnish CS legend and veteran who spent time working as an investment banker after his career, was recently tempted back into the fold by a very lucrative offer from Immortals, increasing the influence of Fins in high places.
We have already said so, but of course the best deal is being got by the folk in Finland who love a bit of esports, and are going to see it live on their televisions, in what should become a staple as we move forward. If more nations were to give esports the respect the Fins have, and less broadcasting corporations took the two-faced stance the BBC have in recent years, it would be a massive boon for the industry and move us forward no end.
As for Yle, we hope their experience is an enjoyable and profitable one, as that can have long term benefits too. Live tv may miss a few things twitch offers, like chat emotes and the chance to be racially abused by a stranger over text, but it is the future of esports, and Finland has taken a step in that direction today.