The awards committee for the Academy made the unanimous decision to recognize esports journalism in an effort to “expand the Emmy universe,” said Justine Gubar, executive director of Sports Emmy Awards Administration, and herself a four-time Emmy Award winner.
She recalled the debate about whether shows on HBO should be nominated for an Emmy, or whether a Netflix film is still a film, questions that, in retrospect, seem silly.
“We want to be more forward thinking,” Gubar said. “In five years, esports is going to be more massive. The major networks are buying into it. Some of our key partners are big players in the esports world.”
Esports entries have received nominations in other Emmy categories, like Outstanding Studio Design/Art Direction. Publisher Riot Games even won the Outstanding Live Graphic Design category in 2018 for its computer-generated dragon during the World Championship the prior year.
Esports coverage by major networks like ESPN has been around for a few years, and is only growing.
The 41st Sports Emmy Awards will take place in New York City in May next year.