As Leo Olebe, director of global games partnerships at Facebook, told us last month, the company is taking its live streaming and eSports push very seriously. Today's news that ESL has teamed with Facebook to offer thousands of hours of eSports coverage (some of it exclusive) is proof of that. And it closely follows other content partnerships with eSports teams Team Dignitas and Echo Fox.
Starting in June, ESL will stream content from Rank S competitions, which is an elite ladder for the Counter-Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO) community. Additionally, Facebook will stream an exclusive weekly 30-minute CS:GO program that showcases the best players, upcoming talent and competition highlights. ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters events will also stream globally on ESL's Facebook network in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and German. All told, the ESL deal will bring Facebook over 5,500 hours of eSports content.
"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, Vice President of Social Media and Editorial at ESL. "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 of highly engaged eSports fans."
Patrick Chapman, Gaming and eSports Partnerships at Facebook, added, "Rank S is defined by the world's best CS:GO gameplay and it's fueled by a knowledgeable, passionate fan base that craves great live matches, news and analysis. Delivering original video content to this audience ties directly to Facebook's commitment to build the world's community for people to play, watch and share games they love. ESL's use of Facebook Groups as a cornerstone of its video distribution strategy is an innovative approach that encourages greater participation from the vibrant community of CS:GO fans around the world."