ESL has announced that its broadcasting deal with Facebook will continue this 2019 – sans the exclusive media rights.
Last year, ESL unveiled their exclusive partnership with the social media giant covering ESL Pro League games and ESL One tournaments for Dota 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive. This reveal wasn’t received too well by fans who argued that Twitch has been the superior esports streaming platform ever since.
Tides have turned however as ESL confirms that the English and Portuguese language broadcasts of the ESL One and ESL Pro League tournament series will no longer be exclusive to Facebook.
ESL Co-CEO Ralf Reichert notes that they are looking to cater bigger audiences thus leading to the expansion. Recently, the company also shared media rights to Chinese streaming giants Huya and Huomao to further penetrate the esports crazed nation.
“ESL brings together a global community of esports fans and aims to deliver amazing esports experiences to audiences around the world, both online and through large scale events,”
“ESL will be providing multiple sources in which fans can experience our flagship circuits online -- including a return to Facebook Gaming to continue bringing content to its rapidly growing audience."
Reddit comments from ESL digital marketing services VP Johannes Schiefer also suggests that they are into expanding its global tournament broadcasts across all possible streaming platforms. Fans have also noticed the plummeting stream numbers of ESL events outside of the Intel Extreme Masters series when they initially announced the exclusive streaming deal back in January 2018.
Exclusive partnerships aren’t new for esports companies.
Examples are FACEIT who maintains a partnership with Youtube and the Overwatch League that is locked on Twitch. But ESL was bold enough to remove the exclusivity in order to bring back their record numbers and at the same time retain their reach with casual viewers on social media.
The announcement comes along with the opening stages of the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII - Katowice Major 2019 which is now live. Fans can watch all the action through ESL’s official Twitch channels.