ESL announces Broadcasting Deal with Facebook

Vignesh Raghuram

21o, Jan, 2018
ESL has just announced a broadcasting partnership with Facebook to telecast it’s Esports competitions.

Both ESL One and the CS:GO Pro League will henceforth be exclusively broadcasted on the popular social media site’s Facebook Watch Platform. The deal means that English broadcasts of ESL events will no longer be available on platforms like Youtube Gaming and Twitch.

Facebook Watch is a relatively new service from the social media site which supports features like streaming in 1080p/60fps and VR. The service’s new "Viewing with friends" feature and Messenger service will also encourage a more "collaborative experience," unlike any other streaming service out there.

While the deal has been met with much opposition from the /r/Dota2 community, this is good news for the Indian esports fans as Twitch has always had latency issues for most of the country. Broadcasting on Facebook should help to increase ESL’s reach amongst casual players.

ESL has a similar sentiment. They said, "We’re excited to now be at a stage where we can take the next step towards realizing our shared ambition to grow the overall esports audience and to bring our sports to an even broader group of viewers than ever before."

ESL One Genting 2018, the first SEA event of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, which runs from January 23-28, will be the first event to be broadcast on Facebook Watch as part of this deal.

However as per Valve's video policy and their official announcement regarding broadcasting Dota2, non commercial streaming of matches via DotaTV is acceptable. This might lead to alternate streams on non Facebook platforms such as Twitch and YouTube by unofficial streamers - a move that could have a significant negative impact ESL's viewership on the official stream.