Heroes of the Dorm drops ESPN and moves to Facebook, signups open today for college players

Mark Zuckerberg's social media juggernaut allows access to a wider audience than the sports-network institution.


Blizzard's perennial Heroes of the Dorm eSports tournament will return for a third season in 2017, but will be broadcast on Facebook instead of ESPN.

"It will be even easier for esports fans to follow Heroes of the Dorm week in and week out in 2017, with the entirety of the tournament being streamed exclusively on Facebook," Blizzard Entertainment announced on Heroes of the Storm's official website.

Blizzard partnered with ESPN to broadcast Heroes of the Dorm's first two seasons. The publisher's announcement made no mention of the sports institution.

According to a press release issued by Blizzard, broadcasting Heroes of the Storm on Facebook opens up more connectivity and social options. "With Facebook friends and Heroes of the Storm personalities just a click away, Heroes of the Dorm 2017 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."

Moving to Facebook seems an obvious and wise move to cater to fans more comfortable staring at smartphones, tablets, and PCs than at a television set. Polygon points out that many players were unable to watch last year's Heroes of the Dorm championship matches on ESPN2 because they did not have cable subscriptions. As this year's tourney unfolds, Blizzard will pepper viewers with data such as up-to-the-minute stats, player and team profiles, and Bracket Challenge updates—connectivity made possible via integration with a social media platform.

At the same time, broadcasting Heroes of the Dorm exclusively on Facebook undercuts Twitch and YouTube, still inarguably the most popular streaming platforms for games-related broadcasts. Facebook likely views the deal as a major get, one that both strengthens its relationship with Blizzard and bolsters its viability as a streaming platform for gaming.

In the same announcement, Blizzard outlined prize pools for this year's tournament and opened registration for eligible college-age players.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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