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Television programs could make eSports mainstream in the west, says StarCraft director

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Getting eSports-related shows and tournaments on television could help competitive gaming reach mainstream popularity in the west, according to StarCraft 2 production director Chris Sigaty.

In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Sigaty noted that putting eSports on television increases the chance of viewers randomly finding the programs as they channel surf. Sigaty says he has seen viewers drawn to eSports at events like BlizzCon's pro matches and Barcrafts, gatherings of fans watching StarCraft tournaments in bars.

"There are some folks watching a football game, they glance over and they come up and ask questions," he explained. "They ask, 'what is this?' That happening through other forms other than just internet streaming would be helpful.

"That's where that conversion happens," he added.

But in order for this conversion to happen, Sigaty says advertisers need to understand and accept that professional gaming has the same viability as other sports. He suggests these eSports shows take cues from the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts sector and its Ultimate Fighter television program, which follows a household of professional fighters as they train and compete for a UFC contract.

"Getting these fighters together in a house and watching them learning their martial arts and trials they have to go through to get to their fight, to make it to number one, that sort of programming, people would eat it up about a pro-gamer and StarCraft 2 or whatever," said Sigaty.