Twitter lands major streaming deal
Twitter has announced it will stream original esports content, including live streams of esports tournaments, starting in 2017.
The social network behemoth has reached deals with ESL One, DreamHack, and Intel Extreme Masters to stream more than 15 tournaments this year. The deal also includes 30-minute weekly shows covering competition highlights and behind-the-scenes stories that will be produced by ESL.
“Esports fans are endemic to digital, and this partnership with Twitter expands ESL’s reach for all of our major tournaments for fans around the globe,” said ESL Vice President Social Media & Editorial Johannes Schiefer. “Intel Extreme Masters Katowice is our most anticipated live event, and we are excited to bring premier content from this tournament and beyond to more fans in a premium experience.”
Twitter is looking to produce more than 1,500 hours of live streamed esports competitions this year, all of which can be accessed through its site and mobile app.
“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 Twitter COO Anthony Noto via press release. “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.”
Twitter also stated in its press release that live streams will include advertising packages — TV-style ad spots combined with original highlights and recap clips, which advertisers can sponsor and promote on Twitter.
Twitter has been increasing its presence in streaming live sporting events.
Last year, the company teamed with the NFL to live stream Thursday Night Football. It has also reached deals with the MLS and NBA to stream original content this year.
This also won’t be Twitter’s first time live streaming esports competitions. The company has previously partnered with ELEAGUE to live stream the organization’s semifinals and championship competitions.
The next event to be streamed on Twitter is DreamHack Austin in April. From April 28-30, fans will be able to watch all of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II, Street Fighter V, and Hearthstone action through Twitter.
“Twitter is a very strong esports platform where many of our fans and followers already engage with DreamHack events,” said DreamHack CEO and President Marcus Lindmark in a statement. “This will be a shortcut for fans, as they can both watch and engage on the platform at the same time.”
NBA and Take-Two team up
The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, the creators of the NBA 2K franchise, are joining forces to create a professional esports league: The NBA 2K eLeague.
This new league will be played on the latest NBA 2K title and will include teams that compete in the regular season, playoffs, and a championship match.
“The popularity of NBA 2K with the young and growing esports community provides a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the gaming community. We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience.”
– NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
To make things even more interesting, each team in the NBA 2K eLeague will be operated by an actual NBA franchise. Fans rooting for their favorite NBA team can check out their virtual counterpart starting next year.
Bruins partner with Splyce
We’ve seen a plethora of NBA organizations and soccer clubs invest in the esports industry. Now, one of the most storied franchises in the NHL is throwing its hat in the ring.
Six-time Stanley Cup champions the Boston Bruins and their parent company, Delaware North, have invested in the esports franchise Splyce.
While financial terms have not been disclosed, Delaware North has stated it will use resources from the Bruins and TD Garden revenue in the development, sales, and marketing of the esports brand.
“Delaware North is always looking at emerging markets and new opportunities, and certainly one in the entertainment and sports space. One, because we feel like we already have some of the important elements that would make a sports franchise successful. We have a sales teams for sponsorships and ticket sales. We have a marketing engine, social. We have an arena to host events. It was an ideal partnership because we already have some of the basic elements.”
– TD Garden President Amy Latimer
Splyce currently controls nine esports teams, including the EU LCS squad in League of Legends, as well as teams in Call of Duty, CSGO, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft.
While many believe Splyce is a European organization, the brand was originally founded in 2015 out of Rochester, New York under the name Follow Esports. The company became associated with the EU LCS after purchasing the rights to Team Dignitas and rebranding the team as Splyce.
Splyce has seen recent success in the EU LCS, qualifying for the League of Legends World Championship in their first two 2016 splits. They’re currently 5-3 and in third place in Group B.
The deal is contingent on Splyce remaining in the northeastern United States, where Delaware North and the Bruins are located.
“For us to be competitive for players, for opportunities for growing our business, we really have to look at what is the right opportunity, and you’re looking at places like Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Chicago, if we want to stay in the northeast, and that was really important to us,” stated Splyce co-founder and CEO Marty Strenczewilk.
“Boston offered not only one of the passionate fan bases in sports, but also, it’s got great infrastructure here for running a sports team. I think there are really opportunities to grow the cross-fan-base between esports and sports both directions.”