The Evolution Championship Series, the long-running annual tournament for fighting games that's better known as Evo, is hitting the big time: The Street Fighter 5 World Championship from the Evo 2016 finals will be broadcast live on ESPN2, the network announced today.
ESPN2's coverage from Evo 2016 will begin at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 17. Interested parties will also be able to watch live via WatchESPN, the network's streaming service.
"The Street Fighter V World Championship will be one of the must-see competitions from the Evo finals," said John Lasker, vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN Digital Media, in a statement. "We are always exploring ways to serve the growing and passionate audience of competitive gaming, and we look forward to delivering this event to fans."
ESPN has become increasingly interested in esports over the past few years. ESPN networks have aired gaming competitions such as Dota 2's International and Heroes of the Storm's Heroes of the Dorm tournament. And on the media side, ESPN's website launched a dedicated section for esports coverage earlier this year.
"Evo is excited to bring the energy and excitement of our world finals to a wider audience," said Joey Cuellar, CEO of Evo. "ESPN brings us an amazing opportunity to showcase the fighting game community competing at its highest level."
Evo 2016 will run from July 15-17; the first two days will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, while the final day's events will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. This year's Evo is set to be the largest ever, with more than 14,000 competitors registered to play. That includes over 5,000 Street Fighter 5 players, which is more than twice as many as the turnout for Ultra Street Fighter 4 last year.