When a rumour refuses to die, it usually means there is some truth in them. That appears to be the case with national broadcaster Astro, which for at least a month have been rumoured to be ready to air the upcoming The International Dota 2 tournament for its subscribers. The company has now confirmed that rumour, which will surely delight local eSports fans.
TI 5 is easily the most lucrative eSports tournament in the world. With the prize pool funded by sales of in-game items on Steam, it breezed past the $10 million mark in 2014, and this year, the prize pool has surged past $17.65 million. It’s fair to say that this tournament has almost single-handedly reignited interest in the global eSports scene.
For the past month, local Dota 2 fans have been using different methods to convince Astro to air the tournament – including spamming Astro’s Facebook page and even an official petition. Turns out, it may have worked.
Astro’s TI 5 offering will be huge. Besides offering a dedicated channel (Astro SuperSport Plus Channel 808) and on Astro On The Go, viewers will be able to catch a total of eight hours of live matches daily, complemented by replays and exclusive content – all for free to all Astro subscribers with the B.yond set top box.
This will be the first time Astro will be broadcasting eSports content live not just in Malaysia, but in the region. Lee Choong Khay, Astro’s Head of Sports Business said, “…e-Sports is now enjoying booming popularity and we believe that the championship will be a big hit with over 10 million gamers in Malaysia.”
Dato’ Latt Shariman Abdullah, President of eSports Malaysia said, “This is a very good opportunity to show to the whole world that e-Sports is recognized as a sports in Malaysia through eSports Malaysia (eSM). We would like to thank Astro for taking the lead to bring eSports through the mainstream media reaching out to all Malaysians.”
Astro subscribers can view all matches live from 4-9 August, with the TI 5 Opening to be held at 1am, 4 August. This 16-team tournament will also feature Team Fnatic, comprising of Malaysian Dota 2 players captained by our very own Dota 2 superstar Mushi.