The Dallas Morning News announced today that it will launch coverage of the Dallas Fuel professional esports franchise within the SportsDay area of its digital products, found at dallasnews.com/esports. The team, headquartered in Dallas and owned by esports organization Envy Gaming, is a founding member of the 20-team Overwatch League. The News intends to provide intensive, digital-only coverage as the team enters the final weeks of the regular season.
The Overwatch League, currently in the final stage of its second season, launched with the intention of geolocating its teams. Featuring franchises from three continents, all matches currently are played in Los Angeles, and all players reside there. That will change next year, when the teams move to their respective hometowns. Anticipating this move to be amidst its local fan base, The News intends to cover the team vigorously when the Fuel move to Dallas in 2020.
Garry Leavell, Assistant Managing Editor/Sports offered, “We think we are in a strong position to build a following of esports enthusiasts. There are plenty of bloggers who don’t have access to players and some good esports journalists who write trend stories. But no one covers local sports franchises the way we approach the Cowboys, Mavs, Rangers or Stars. We think esports fans are hungry for serious coverage. Led by assistant sports editor Tommy Magelssen, we aim to provide that coverage of the Dallas Fuel.”
The coverage provided by The News before the team’s full-time North Texas arrival provides a feedback and learning opportunity for the business as it expands coverage into this burgeoning arena.
Grant Moise, President and Publisher of The Dallas Morning News said, “The Dallas Morning News will continue to evolve our coverage of areas of interest to the North Texas community and our broad geographic footprint. The topic of esports is one such area we have identified for expanded coverage in which North Texans have expressed an emphatic interest. Esports is a multi-billion-dollar industry with millions of dedicated players and followers, but until now there has been a lack of serious reporting on the teams, especially from big news organizations. We intend to change this and will experiment with coverage, interact with our loyal audience members, and receive feedback in this new arena so that we can deliver the content that is of most interest to the enthusiastic North Texas fan community.”
During this initial phase, The News will cover the Dallas Fuel from Aug. 5 until the end of their season. The regular season ends Aug. 25 with playoffs scheduled through Sept. 29. The News will evaluate audience reception, engagement, feedback and enthusiasm for the initial coverage and process those data points and information into its plans for continued, in-depth coverage upon the franchise’s full-time arrival in North Texas.