Something to clean up and expand on later. Pasted from an old Kotaku thread.
I think the big issue with broadcasting video game competitions - at least in America - is that there are so damn many of them.
When you have three full generations of males in the U.S. sitting down every Saturday for college and Sunday for pro football, they're all watching the same game. the same holds true for baseball, basketball, and so on - the rules are the same (or have minor alterations on a league-by-league basis) regardless of which iteration of the game you're watching. This doesn't work for gaming - I've never played DOA4, and thus have zero interest in watching a competition devoted to it. The same for Halo 3 (gasp!). I'd love to see a competition for Team Fortress 2, but how many Halo 3 fanatics and DOA4 pros even play it?
These things work in countries like Korea because they've based the major competitions on the same game - Starcraft. The ever-evolving gaming world changes so quickly that new "competition-grade" games come out every few months; some games, like the newest Command and Conquer, actually had a built in feature where you could not only spectate and broadcast the game, but be a damn announcer for it.
One of two things need to happen before game competition will really go either mainstream or truly profitable (even if only in the gaming community);
1. Technology must plateau so that graphics, and thus core gameplay mechanics, are able to stabilize and create a consistent platforms that become familiar amongst the watching base, and
2. A game is developed that people will be willing to use exclusively, or at least a large amount of time so it develops that "traditional permanence" that games like golf and football have. Although it isn't necessary for the first point to come about for the second, I don't see it happening - too many of us, particularly in this pseudo next-gen environment, are becoming too graphically driven to allow lesser polygon counts to sate us.