YouTube makes yet another solid move into esports by acquiring the exclusive streaming rights for one of the biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leagues in the world.
The Esports Championship Series, which was launched on April 6, 2016 by FaceIt and Twitch, will be completely transitioning its broadcasts over to YouTube in a multi-year partnership starting next week with the beginning of its promotion series. ECS, which is currently in its third season, established itself as one of the major CS:GO leagues in the world with both North American and European league divisions throughout 2016.
“This is our most significant investment into esports to date and illustrates our continued commitment to growing esports with the hundreds of millions of gamers watching YouTube each day,” Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content at YouTube wrote in a press release.
One of the major features implemented by the ECS was revenue sharing and co-ownership of the league itself for the participating teams, a practice that won’t be affected by the transition over to YouTube. “The ECS revenue sharing and co-ownership structure reinforces our belief that all players should have a voice,” Wyatt said.
With ECS on its platform, YouTube will now broadcast two of the major CS:GO leagues worldwide, after acquiring the exclusive broadcast rights to the ESL Pro League on Jan. 13. The partnership presents an interesting situation for Twitch and CS:GO, as the Amazon-owned platform has now seen two of the largest leagues in the game migrate over to YouTube, its main competitor.
What implications this may have down the line is hard to predict. But it seems as if Twitch’s monopoly on broadcasting esports is withering.
The ECS’ debut on YouTube is set for March 25 with the start of the third season’s promotion series, which will be broadcast on the FaceIt YouTube channel.