ESPN and ABC have announced that they will be delaying a broadcast of the first ever EXP Invitational for Apex Legends at X Games Minneapolis tournament, which took place on August 2 and 3, and was originally scheduled to air on August 10 on ESPN2 and on August 11 on ABC, as originally reported by esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau.
This decision was made in response to the recent mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Many prominent Republicans, including the president, blamed video games as a contributing factor to the continuing mass shooting epidemic - despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
The planned hour-long broadcast would have showcased highlights from throughout the tournament, as well as marked the first major televised showcase of pro Apex Legends gameplay. Its airing on ESPN2 has been pushed back to later this year, and is currently scheduled for October 6, 15 and 27. Additionally, full videos of both days of the tournaments are available now on ESPN's esports YouTube channel, alongside shorter highlights and analysis clips of the tournament.
The EXP Invitational pitted teams representing Cloud9, Team Liquid, NRG Esports and other major esports organizations against one another. Team SoloMid's ImperialHal, Albralelie and Reps took first place in the tournament, winning $30,000.
ESPN and ABC has made the decision not to air the TV broadcast of the XGames Apex Legends EXP Invitational that was scheduled for this weekend, in response to the recent mass shootings, according to an ABC Affiliate TV station source pic.twitter.com/6BMwdbk93t— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 8, 2019
On one hand, the broadcast's cancellation goes hand-in-hand with the network's removal of advertising for Blumhouse Productions' upcoming satirical thriller The Hunt, a film that features prominent gun violence, potentially indicating a larger, network-wide initiative to remove content depicting significant gun usage. On the other hand, this is a move that lends legitimacy to an ongoing media campaign that scapegoats video games ahead of factors that have been shown to actually have an impact on gun violence in America.
Video game industry representatives and fans alike have suddenly found themselves in the unlikely position of having to rehash a debate many thought to have been concluded years, if not decades ago. Slasher himself appeared on Fox News earlier this week ago to discuss the lack of correlation between violent video games and real-life violence. While ESPN, ABC and other large media organizations currently have a tight rope to walk in order to take the rising number of those impacted by gun violence into consideration, these current actions come at the expense of an entire form of entertainment that has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals and society alike.