ESL and DreamHack ink television rights deal with Blake Broadcasting

18 December 2019


Blake Broadcasting has reached an agreement with ESL and DreamHack to broadcast their tournaments in the United States, Canada and Asia, with the exception of China.

Per the agreement, which runs from March 2020 through July 2023, over-the-top streaming service CBNN will serve as the exclusive satellite channel for the ESL Pro Tour and Dota 2 competitions.

Blake Broadcasting ESL DreamHack
Photo credit: ESL

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The coverage will include events across Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, and the ESL Pro League, as well as DreamHack Masters and DreamHack Open tournaments.

CBNN’s programming strategy is additionally intended to go beyond the live coverage of events with studio broadcasts featuring highlights, news, and interviews. Together, BBN and ESL plan to bring esports into “millions of new homes” across the United States, Canada, and Asia. This broadcast strategy includes regional distribution through cable, free-to-air satellite, and OTT streaming.

Bob Blake, CEO of Blake Broadcasting spoke on the deal in a release: “Our channels are dedicated to providing only the highest quality esports, news, sports, and entertainment content for our viewers, and this groundbreaking deal will make CBNN the largest television broadcaster of esports outside of China. We could not find a better partner to provide premium esports content than ESL and DreamHack. Combined with our support from SES and MX1 and our other major content providers and partners, we will be delivering the best in premium esports programming, which will be the priority anchor for our sports initiatives going forward.”

Blake Broadcasting is said to deliver over 1,500 news stories across sports, fashion, entertainment, technology, music, and film each month. The company recently inked a deal with global satellite operator SES as its exclusive broadcast satellite network provider for CNBB networks in Europe, Asia, and North America; a partnership likely to come into play with the additions of ESL and DreamHack.

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Thomas Schmidt, CCO of ESL also commented on the deal: “ESL and DreamHack are extremely focused on improving the coverage and reach of our events, and with this partnership, our tournaments and other content will be available to hundreds of millions of satellite- and cable-equipped homes. Our agreement with BBN is in line with our ambition to expand our programming to mainstream audiences without compromising our world-class digital coverage for the esports community that we’re committed to serve.”

Modern Times Group (MTG), the parent company of both ESL and DreamHack, recently refashioned the latter to form a new entity. DreamHack Sports Games was launched with a focus on bridging esports and traditional sports through competitive leagues and broadcasts.

TV 2 Denmark acquired the Danish broadcast rights for ESL and DreamHack’s ESL Pro Tour in October in a deal which will run through to February 2023.

Esports Insider says: Esports programming has been a highly desirable topic and venture in the industry. While the possibilities of a fully-fledged esports channel could be monumental, its previous adaptations have been poor in execution. The collective powerhouses of Blake Broadcasting, ESL, and DreamHack, though, could build a real case for something special.