Facebook has inked a deal with esports tournament organizer ESL, the Wall Street Journal reports. The social media giant will broadcast ESL events, player interviews, and more. The deal is non-exclusive, so the events will continue to be broadcast on Twitch as well. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
It’s not Facebook’s first foray into esports. Earlier this year, Facebook partnered with G2 Esports, Echo Fox, and Team Dignitas. All of these teams use a multi-platform distribution strategy, however. Without exclusive rights given, the club’s are free to show presence on Twitch or Twitter as well.
Facebook’s focus on esports makes sense. At the intersection of gaming and traditional sports, esports is the perfect fit for the social network’s investment strategy. The company is doing a lot recently to push TV-like content to its users’ news stream. A partnership with ESL, one of the most dominant forces in the esports industry, is the logical step for Facebook’s esports initiative.
ESL events, like ESL One or IEM, reach record-breaking viewership figures. For ESL, the self-proclaimed esports leader, joining the biggest social network on earth is a great opportunity to attract even more eyeballs.
In general, Facebook’s strengthened commitment to esports triggers some side effects, as well. Twitch’s undisputed leadership as the No. 1 streaming website for esports is increasingly coming under fire. With Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all pushing into esports, the competition will only get more fierce in the future.