Mario Kart 8 is next on Disney's list of televised eSports experiments
The Walt Disney Company is continuing to push competitive video game programming on its Disney XD TV channel with "Clash of Karts: Mario Kart 8," an hour-long special featuring kids and YouTubers competing in multiple rounds of the latest Mario Kart game.
The eSports business is booming, and it's notable that Disney is one of the few (and perhaps only) media companies experimenting with family-friendly programs and specials featuring competitive video game play.
This isn't the first time, either -- Disney has been creating its own video game-themed original programming for some time, and worked with Nintendo earlier this year to produce an hour-long special based on the 2015 Nintendo World Championships.
“We wanted to focus on a single game with this special and have a more intimate event," Disney XD exec Marc Buhaj told Fortune regarding the upcoming Mario Kart 8 TV special. "ESports is something that’s blossoming, but it’s still early days...how it’ll be covered for the kids’ audience is still something that remains to be seen."
Of course, Nintendo isn't the first platform holder to push its competitive games on TV -- last year Microsoft backed a partnership between MLG and ESPN's X Games that saw a Call of Duty invitational included in a (televised) X Games event, and Valve cut a similar deal with ESPN to get The International Dota 2 tournament broadcast on ESPN3.