The third-annual Heroes of the Dorm, the Heroes of the Storm tournament where players from various colleges compete to win scholarships and other prizes, will be broadcast in a much different way this year.
Previously, ESPN aired early rounds of the competition through its streaming service, ESPN 3, in addition to Twitch and YouTube. The final two rounds were then shown on television, on ESPN 2. (ESPN’s involvement with a video game tournament irked some viewers and at least one of its employees.) This time around, Heroes of the Dorm moves to Facebook.
A press release announcing the details of this event doesn’t mention the move from ESPN. This could be viewed as a negative, in that Heroes of the Storm is losing the mainstream exposure that comes from a partnership with ESPN. As you’d expect, though, Blizzard positions this as a positive, claiming it will be a “new kind of connected esports event, offering a global real-time connected experience for viewers that supports live interaction (or smack-talking) during the heat of competition.” At the very least, airing on Facebook means you won’t have to need access to ESPN 2 to see the entire tournament thorugh.
“Heroes of the Dorm has featured some of the most dramatic college esports action of the past two years, and with more prizes for more teams up for grabs this year, we’re looking forward to a whole new level of competition,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said. “We’re also excited to be working with Facebook this year to bring more live Heroes of the Dorm play to more viewers around the world than ever before.”
Registration for the tournament has begun on the Heroes of the Dorm website. Those who are only interested in watching will again have the chance to win prizes, including a $10,000 grand prize, by predicting the winners in the Bracket Challenge. The first matches take place on February 15, with the championship set for April 8.
In the meantime, Heroes of the Storm has kicked off a new in-game event with new content, including a new playable character.