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Facebook Snags ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ eSports Tourney Away From ESPN

Variety logo Variety 1/25/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Facebook is the exclusive broadcast partner for this year’s college eSports tournament “Heroes of the Dorm” from Blizzard Entertainment — an event that was carried on ESPN2 for the last two years.

The 2017 spring tournament, produced by Blizzard and Tespa, will feature “Heroes of the Storm” teams from colleges across the U.S. and Canada, giving them a chance to earn more than $500,000 in scholarships and prizes. “Heroes of the Dorm” will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the “Heroes of the Storm” page, beginning with the regular season and continuing all the way through to the national championship.

The Facebook Live exclusive pact promises to bring more viewers around world to “Heroes of the Dorm,” according to Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard. Meanwhile, viewers — and even ESPN talent — had derided the eSports tournament’s live telecast on ESPN2 as not being a legitimate sporting event.

The tournament “has featured some of the most dramatic college eSports action of the past two years, and with more prizes for more teams up for grabs this year, we’re looking forward to a whole new level of competition,” Morhaime said.

The exclusive deal for “Heroes of the Dorm” comes after Blizzard partnered with Facebook last year to let users of its PC game titles live-stream gameplay directly on their Facebook newsfeeds.

For the 2017 “Heroes of the Dorm” on Facebook, the eSports event will provide new live interactive features (aka trash-talking) for users watching the multiplayer fighting competition. In addition, Blizzard will post up-to-date statistics, team and player profiles, updates for the bracket challenge and a new Pick ‘Em Challenge, and other related content on heroesofthedorm.com. Blizzard will offer prizes to 500 fans who most accurately pick the winners of each matchup beginning with the round of 64, while the grand prize winner will receive $10,000.

Eligible college gamers can sign up to compete in “Heroes of the Dorm” at heroesofthedorm.com starting Thursday. The group stages of the regular season kick off Feb. 15, proceeding through regional finals March 8-9, and the final four and championship matches on April 8.

In the inaugural 2015 “Heroes of the Dorm,” the team from UC Berkeley won the crown. Last year Arizona State University avenged their championship loss from the previous year to claim the title.

“Heroes of the Storm” brings together characters from Blizzard’s sci-fi and fantasy titles, including from the “Warcraft,” “StarCraft” and “Diablo” universes.

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