Fortnite star Ninja is first gamer to land ESPN cover

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. 

Ethan Miller / Techhnews

The next issue of ESPN The Magazine is going to be a little different. Instead of featuring a baseball player, football player, basketball player or other athlete, it’ll have esports gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins on the cover spot, ESPN said Tuesday. 

Blevins is the first esports player to make the cover of the magazine. He’s also the first Twitch streamer to rack up 10 million followers, and he’s broken streaming records playing Fortnite, notably once with rapper Drake. In June, he also made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people on the internet

Esports continue to gain popularity, with one 2018 report projecting the industry will hit $900 million in revenue this year. In May, Epic Games said it would spend $100 million to fund prize pools for Fortnite tournaments during the 2018-19 esports season. Last month, The International, the biggest esports event of the year, drew in nearly 15 million viewers, according to tournament tracking site ESC.

The Blevins-fronted ESPN The Magazine issue, which focuses on gaming, will hit newsstands Sept. 21. 

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