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Facebook signs deal with ESL to livestream esports

20 May 2017

People typically watch ESL's video game tournaments via online streaming services like Google's (goog) YouTube and Twitch, which is owned by Amazon (amzn). Facebook, which had earlier signed a deal with Major League Baseball to livestream games, has announced a brand new deal with global esports company ESL to bring over 5,550 hours of esports events to its platform. In total, ESL plans to broadcast over 5,500 hours of gaming tournaments, starting in June. According to the announcement on the ESL's website, "ESL will stream content from Rank S competitions, an elite ladder for the Counter-Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO) community, as well as an exclusive weekly 30-minute CS:GO program that showcases the best players, upcoming talent and competition highlights". The deal brings Facebook on par with Twitch and Twitter, both of which already have plenty of esports partnerships. It added support for desktop streaming to user profiles, allowing gamers to more easily stream their gameplay, and it announced other content partnerships with esports teams Team Dignitas and Echo Fox. Still, deals it has penned in the past haven't really matched the scale of this one with ESL.

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"With over 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this is a huge step toward expanding the reach of eSports among mainstream audiences", said Johannes Schiefer, who serves as ESL's Vice President of Social Media and Editorial.

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Facebook has done some eSports streaming in the past here and there, most notably with Activision and Blizzard in 2016. He notes that this deal will help ESL expand its viewership and "build strong local communities" centered around eSports. By 2020, it's expected to reach $1.488 billion.

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Facebook signs deal with ESL to livestream esports