Fortnite and Twitch.TV streaming icon, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, has seen his career trajectory skyrocket to that of celebrity status within the gaming community, notably becoming the first streamer to reach 10 million followers on Twitch. His next achievement will continue to highlight his career while bringing gaming culture even more mainstream than he already has.
Ninja will be featured as ESPN The Magazine’s cover athlete in next month’s Gaming Issue, available on October 1st. It will be the very first time that a professional gamer is featured on the cover of the sports media giant’s magazine.
The Fortnite star took to Twitter to announce the news, which included a first-look at the magazine’s cover:
“So excited to [be] the first professional gamer to be featured on @espn the Magazine. Cover and profile will be shown on Sports Center tomorrow in the 7 AM EST hour.”
Ninja’s career began roughly eight years ago and is one of the most intriguing rise-to-fame stories around. His skills and notoriety in Fornite led to the infamous stream featuring his teammates of Drake, rapper Travis Scott, and NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster, which not only broke the Twitch record for the most-viewed stream by a single streamer, but also made Ninja even more of a household name. While the star-studded event isn’t the only thing to have helped make video games more mainstream, it certainly helped bring in a new audience that was otherwise unfamiliar with the star, or video game streaming culture in general.
While the Olympic Committee continues to struggle with the decision to add eSports as an Olympic event, the sports world has clearly taken notice of video games’ audience and overall pull. As an early adopter of eSports coverage, ESPN is one of the biggest names covering competitive gaming. ESPN.com has a section dedicated to eSports news and scores, and the network is involved in a multi-year deal to broadcast the Overwatch League live. ESPN The Magazine’s decision to feature Ninja – one of gaming’s brightest stars – will only continue to positively increase gaming’s impact within the sports world
The full story appearing in ESPN The Magazine is available now and can be read on espn.com.