Facebook Live to be exclusive broadcast partners of ESL One and ESL Pro League

WESA and ESL have reached an agreement with Facebook to give them exclusive broadcast rights for two of their biggest tournaments, starting with ESL One Genting from January 23-28.

The arrangement concerns the ESL Pro League and ESL One competitions, and the rights are for both English and Portuguese language streams. 

The CS:GO Pro League will also begin its Facebook Live tenure in February 2018, promising new ways to enjoy ESL competitions including streaming in 1080p/60fps and watching in Facebook 360 for Gear VR. The deal will run for four seasons of the Pro League, until December 2019.

Additionally, ESL will be producing a weekly five-minute show celebrating the Dota community on Facebook Watch, Facebook’s platform for shows.

“Building on our successful partnership, we believe Facebook is the perfect platform to bring both Pro League and ESL One competitions to new and existing audiences,” said Nik Adams, Senior Vice President Global Media Rights & Distribution, ESL. “With Facebook broadening their portfolio of top-tier live sports events and leagues, we are excited to add this content to their lineup and guarantee the very best of viewing experiences to our passionate fans.”

Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner, WESA, said: “Not only does this mark an important step for Pro League, our teams, and our players, but it is also an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of sports media consumption. With Facebook’s scale, especially in gaming, and the digital-first instincts of our viewers, we believe this partnership will both reach and better serve our global CS:GO audience by bringing the excitement and drama of Pro League directly to our fans.”

ESL will also be utilising Facebook’s new cross-posting feature. This allows ESL to post videos and reach audiences on all participating team and player Pages, finding a new and relevant audience and seeing aggregated insights across posts for all Pages.

Today’s news follows the announcement in May 2017 by ESL and Facebook to bring 5,000 hours of ESL content to Facebook. By collaborating closely, ESL has grown its community reach on Facebook from 700K to more than 25M people each month

“For years ESL has used Facebook to nurture its global community while broadening the audience for esports competition to millions of fans worldwide,” said Leo Olebe, Global Director, Games Partnerships. “Having two of ESL’s most adored properties for CS:GO and Dota 2 streaming exclusively on Facebook is the next step in our efforts to delight the passionate esports community on Facebook. The ability to now watch esports in 1080p and in VR underscores our commitment to adding more ways for fans to watch and connect with each other around the esports content they love most.”

Just last week, Acer became the official monitor and broadcast laptop sponsor for ESL One Genting, stating that they want to “provide the best experience for these best teams to conquer new worlds. As well as this, they also announced Intel as the official headline sponsor of the ESL UK Premiership, the UK’s national esports league.

Esports Insider says: Bringing esports to any streaming service that isn’t Twitch is always going to raise a lot of question marks. However, the CS:GO Pro League has recently been streamed on YouTube and achieved record viewership, so we would hate to make assumptions before giving them a chance. That said, we’re intrigued to see how this goes for them.