Facebook continues eSports push with expanded ESL tie-up
Facebook, the social media giant, is to live stream major eSports events throughout 2017 after securing a content deal with the video game promoter ESL.
Under the deal, ESL’s flagship Intel Extreme Masters competition, ESL One events and National Championships will be live streamed on Facebook in six different languages.
In addition, Facebook is to stream exclusive weekly content featuring the E-Sports Entertainment Association League.
The content will be available via ESL’s and ESEA’s Facebook pages.
Johannes Schiefer, ESL vice-president, social media, commented: “This is a huge step toward expanding the reach of eSports among mainstream audiences. Last year, ESL content generated over 2 billion impressions and reached over 200 million users on Facebook globally. Now, with the addition of live streaming for all major ESL events, as well as exclusive content around CS:GO and ESEA, we are excited to expand our reach to more audiences and build strong local communities by providing them with content they care about.”
Facebook has been live streaming some ESL events since the beginning of last year.
The social media platform has expanded its eSports content in recent months and secured streaming deals with Team Dignitas, the eSports outfit owned by NBA franchise Philadelphia 76ers, and video game developer Activsion Blizzard.
In March, the Modern Times Group-owned ESL signed a deal with Facebook's rival Twitter to stream more than 15 events, including ESL One, on the platform.
Meanwhile, Sport1, the German sports broadcaster, has acquired the rights to show this weekend’s Fifa Ultimate Team Championship, the eSports competition based on EA Sports’ soccer video game.
Sport1 will live stream the competition (which is taking place on Saturday in Berlin) on its website, Facebook and YouTube channels, with highlights coverage of the tournament airing on its free-to-air television channel a few days later.
The German channel was the exclusive broadcaster of last month’s Virtual Bundesliga, the top-tier German soccer competition’s Fifa 17 eSports league.
Organisers of the Fifa Ultimate Team Championship claim this year’s competition will be the most-watched event in the game’s history, as coverage has been secured on a range of streaming platforms, including Twitch, the Amazon-owned video portal, as well as UK pay-television broadcaster BT Sport.