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Ellen Hammett 

Sky and ITV to launch 24-hour eSports channel

Sky and ITV to launch 24-hour eSports channel

Sky and ITV have partnered with Ginx TV to launch the UK & Ireland's only 24-hour eSports channel, with both broadcasters expected to take minority stakes to support its growth.

GINX eSports TV, which will belong on Sky Sports from 23 June, will showcase major eSports tournaments from across the globe, as well as independent programming, with coverage including Turner's ELEAGUE tournament, FACEIT's eSports Championship Series, and Valve's The International Dota 2.

Other content partners will include Riot, Activision, EGL, Gfinity, with more to be announced.

Outside the UK & Ireland, GINX eSports TV will be distributed to an additional 23 million households, making it the largest eSports TV channel in the world, reaching 37 million homes.

Total eSports revenue was reported at $612 million in 2015, with $111 million of this total coming from corporate sponsorships. By 2017, global eSports audiences are predicted to reach 145 million.

"eSports is experiencing phenomenal growth and Ginx's vision is to bring together two incredibly popular forms of entertainment - gaming and television - to create a unique, global proposition," said Simon Pitts, ITV's managing director of online, pay and interactive.

"We're delighted to be partnering with Ginx and Sky as part of our strategy to target younger audiences, develop new programming genres and expand internationally."

Michiel Bakker, CEO of Ginx TV Ltd., added: "GINX eSports TV aims to add significant mainstream TV exposure to the fast growing eSports ecosystem.

"Complementing online streaming, with an entertainment-led approach, the launch on Sky and the rebrand across all our 37 million households allows us to help new audiences discover eSports and hopefully gives core fans a fresh perspective."

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