Malaysia to get larger e-Sports coverage
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After drawing in more than a million viewers for the TI5 broadcast, Astro are looking to continue their success in the e-Sports scene by broadcasting more e-Sport tournaments.
Astro, Malaysia's biggest and only pay-TV provider, has revealed plans to further their involvement in the e-Sports scene after the resounding success of their broadcast of The International 5; the event drew in close to 1.5 million viewers, despite starting at 01:00 local time. According to Astro's head of sports business, Lee Choong Khay, the decision to broadcast TI5 was due to the rapidly growing e-Sports scene in Malaysia, “We would like to expand our ‘home of sports’ proposition to include e-sports, and what better way than to broadcast The International – a highly popular global tournament – with 10 million e-sports fans in Malaysia”.
With regards to the impact of the TI5 success and the future of Astro, Digital News Asia reports that Lee told them that "“This [TI5's success] reaffirms our belief that e-sports [electronic sports] has a growing popularity among youth in Malaysia” and “This was the first time we aired e-sports on our platform, and we are encouraged by the response". When touching on Astro's future plans, “E-sports is growing in popularity in Malaysia and Astro aired TI5 to engage a new wave of sports fans, including Dota 2 fans and the fast-growing e-sports community. [...] At this point, there are no plans to launch an e-sports channel. However, we are always open to the idea if there is huge interest,”
The coverage of The International 5 by Astro was extensive; they sent representatives to TI5 to get flim footage for an undisclosed project and also, according to Gosugamer's inside source, worked with Valve extensively to ensure that the broadcast would have neither buffering nor lag issues.
As for Astro's next venture into e-Sports, there has been some allegations that they are currently reaching out to Riot Games for permission and support for broadcasting the League of Legends World Championships (An annual League of Legends championships, like TI5).