Disney XD will be airing a Mario Kart 8 tournament for YouTube gamers later this week. The program is called “A Clash of Karts: Mario Kart 8,” and the tournament will play out in front of a live studio audience.

The contestants are teenagers, who will join teams coached by YouTube stars like Strawburry 17Andre (Black Nerd Comedy), AtomicMari, and SethBling. There will be a total of eight contestants in teams of two.

“Esports is something that’s blossoming, but it’s still early days. How it’ll be covered for the kids’ audience is still something that remains to be seen,” Disney XD senior vice president of programming and general manager Marc Buhaj told Fortune Magazine.

Most esports coverage happens through streaming sites like Twitch, bolstered by esports league websites like Major League Gaming and the Electronic Sports League. More recently, news stations like ESPN 2 have covered esports events.

Disney XD first forayed into gaming with the “Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything,” a TV show about a professional teen gamer who is “forced to go to high school for the first time after a thumb injury.” The Canadian program “Gaming Show (In My Parents’ Garage)” also aired on Disney XD.

During the Nintendo World Championships in June, Disney XD aired an hour-long special about the competition.

Buhaj says Disney XD chose Mario Kart 8 for the tournament because of its family-friendly appeal, and the inherent comedy that comes with the gameplay. He also told Fortune that Disney wants to be conscientious about their gaming coverage.

“We want to do projects that have street cred and that’s covered by folks who have earned their stripes in the gaming space,” said Buhaj. “We don’t want it to be a knee-jerk reaction.”


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Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.