The rapidly growing world of online gaming is about to receive another power up as Coke and IGN have partnered to create ESPORTS WEEKLY with Coca-Cola, an online show devoted to everything in the esports realm that launched this month.  

“This is a weekly show that celebrates the gaming community, fandom, and offers refreshing news for the esports world,” said Matt Wolf, head of global gaming for Coca-Cola and an industry veteran.

Coke has been part of the esports scene for several years, partnering with Riot Games on its hugely successful League of Legends game, where teams of five players battle to take control of their enemy’s end of the battlefield in an intense and highly strategic test of wits and quick-twitch ability. According to research firm Newzoo, more than 200 million people have either participated or watched esports in 2014, while the League of Legends championships drew 27 million viewers online, meaning there is an audience eager to stay abreast of the latest happenings.

“The goal is to create a watering-hole atmosphere where players and fans could come to one spot to follow the news,” Wolf said. “IGN was thinking the same thing, and ESPORTS WEEKLY was born.”

The show’s first big story will profile the massive ESL One tournament, held recently at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, another sign of esports’ increasing clout in today’s entertainment landscape.

“IGN is proud to team up with Coke to bring the excitement of esports to the biggest possible audience of gamers online,” said Peer Schneider, IGN general manager and co-founder. “Coke has already established credibility as a supporter of the esports community, making it a perfect partner in unlocking in-depth coverage to IGN’s 66 million monthly viewers.”

The show will feature not only the latest news in the world of esports, but also profiles of some of the genre’s biggest stars, the scoop on the newest games and a peek into the unique culture that has sprouted up in the gamer world. Watch a teaser.

“It’s not just about what’s going on in the competitions, but what’s going on in the stands and in the minds of the players,” Schneider added.

To that end, ESPORTS WEEKLY will be an interactive show fans can help shape through requests and comments.

“We’re going to cover all kinds of esports news and we will take a very democratic approach to it,” Wolf said. “The fact is that we really want the users to help create the show. When it airs, fans are invited to show up and chat with us, and we will be having a conversation to understand what’s resonating. We are treating it as a living, breathing show and the feedback will help craft and influence what the show becomes.

“We are interested in giving fans, players and gamers a real voice in what kind of coverage they will see and we are excited about that.”

Coke’s involvement in esports began with the Coke Zero Challenger Series featuring amateur players for League of Legends, before moving its sponsorship to Coca-Cola in 2015, allowing Coke to expand its esports partnerships around the world. This strong connection with the growing global gaming community now adds another level with the launch and support of ESPORTS WEEKLY.

“It was a bet that Coke took early on to get in this space and do our part to elevate it,” Wolf said. “We couldn’t be happier. Since the time we got involved, esports has become a big thing. There is a lot of passion behind it and it keeps growing by leaps and bounds. We feel like that will continue. We are happy we established the partnership to move forward and support game makers and players – while celebrating fandom in only the way Coke can.”

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