Twitter’s latest live streaming deal will see the network gaining access to 1,500 hours of esports competitions, through new partnerships with ESL and DreamHack. The agreement brings over 15 events from the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and DreamHack circuits to Twitter, where they’ll be available for live viewing on the web and mobile devices, through the Twitter app.
Esports is a large and growing market, and is estimated to reach over a billion dollars either this year or by 2019, depending on which research firm’s forecasts you believe. Thanks to services like Amazon-owned Twitch, watching players compete in real-time has become more accessible to more casual gaming fans, who can’t travel to events to watch in person.
This is not Twitter’s first step into the esports space, either – the company last year announced a partnership with Eleague to live stream the organization’s semifinals and championship competitions.
The new deal is a bit different, as it’s not just a one-off event. In addition to the various live streamed competitions, ESL will produce live original content for Twitter, including a weekly 30-minute show that includes highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.
The streams will begin this Saturday, March 4, with ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters Katowice kicking things off, with pro gamers competing on “StarCraft II.” The DreamHack events will begin with DreamHack Austin in April. These events, which go from April 28th through the 30th, will feature several titles, including “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “StarCraft II,” “Street Fighter V,” and “Hearthstone.”
All the streams will be found in Twitter’s app, or through dedicated landing pages for the organizations involved: esl.twitter.com, iem.twitter.com, and dreamhack.twitter.com.
As with its other live stream deals, Twitter will sell TV-style ads against the live content. Plus, it will also offer original highlight and recap clips for advertisers to sponsor and promote on Twitter, where it will share in the ad revenue.
Both ESL and DreamHack are a part of the international digital entertainment group, MTC, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. According to Marcus Lindmark, CEO & President at DreamHack, Twitter is already a strong esports platform because it’s where fans already engage with DreamHack events.
“This will be a shortcut for fans, as they can both watch and engage on the platform at the same time,” he says.
Prior to this deal, ESL had partnered with other streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook to distribute its individual competitions worldwide.
For Twitter, the deal may bring a number of new users to its service, as well as well as give it a way to test out original content, and the advertising potential surrounding that.
“Esports is growing at a rapid pace and we see this collaboration as a way to tap into the engaged audience of gamers that are already using Twitter as a primary source of content,” said Anthony Noto, COO at Twitter, in a statement. “By partnering with the leading esports companies like ESL and DreamHack, we look forward to bringing the best of esports live video and conversation together on Twitter.”