In their ongoing attempts to overthrow Twitch, Facebook have signed a new livestreaming deal with the ESL. The deal will see Facebook streaming over 5,500 hours of esports via its Facebook Live service, as well as helping the ESL create unique esports content.
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The ESL will stream all of its IEM and ESL One events on Facebook as part of the deal, complete with exclusive backstage AMAs with players and commentators during large stadium events. These streams will be available in six different languages over on the ESL’s regional Facebook pages, with plans to also stream specific national championships via these pages as well.
Facebook will also be the home to the ESEA’s exclusive ‘Rank S’ stream, where players will be able to watch high level CS:GO matches from the top of the North American and European ladders, complete with team audio mixed in. This project will be the first Facebook-exclusive initiative and seeks to put upcoming players in the spotlight.
Along with 30 hours of weekly streams, Facebook will host a Rank S talk show which will go over the week that was in CS:GO. Hosted by Mark “Boq” Wilson, this 30 minute variety programme will only be available on Facebook.
While this is big for Facebook, this deal shows the ESL’s commitment to expand onto sites besides Twitch. They previously made a similar deal with Twitter back in March, which also promised unique streaming content, alongside its standard events coverage.
This is not Facebook’s first touch with esports as not only is it set to host Blizzard’s 2017 Heroes of the Dorm tournament, but it has managed to negotiate with esports organisations like Team Dignitas, Echo Fox and G2 Esports to get them to stream via Facebook Live. According to Forbes, more of these team and event deals are set to be announced later in the year by Facebook. While Twitch is still the top dog in the world of esports streaming, deals like this show that Facebook is most definitely a contender.