TV Academy Unveils First Emmy Category for Esports

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The outstanding esports coverage honor will "recognize the craft behind the delivery of coverage and presentation of competitive, organized video gaming to the viewer during a championship or final event."

The Sports Emmys has added a new category to its annual awards show: esports.

The outstanding esports coverage honor will "recognize the craft behind the delivery of coverage and presentation of competitive, organized video gaming to the viewer during a championship or final event," the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced Monday. 

Esports entries have received nominations from the Sports Emmys in various categories in the past, including for outstanding studio design/art direction and outstanding trans-media sports coverage. In 2018, Riot Games' League of Legends was honored in the outstanding live graphic design category for its work over the prior year. 

“The category ... illustrates the Academy’s commitment to remain on the forefront of the ever-changing world of sports production,” said NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp.

Added Justine Gubar, executive director of the Sports Emmys awards administration, “The addition of a category dedicated to esports welcomes an entire new pool of talent."

Esports as an industry has been expanding rapidly over the past few years. A report in February by research group Newzoo estimated that the global esports market will top $1 billion in revenue this year for the first time. By 2022, revenue is expected to reach $1.8 billion.

Meanwhile, prize pools for esports competitions have begun to rival (and sometimes surpass) those offered by more traditional sports tournaments. Both July's inaugural Fortnite World Cup and DOTA 2's The International tournaments offered total prize pools of more than $30 million, more than doubling the cash prizes of NASCAR's Daytona 500 and the PGA's Masters.

The 41st Sports Emmy Awards are set to take place in May in New York City.