As we stated in an earlier post, live events are a big part of the eSports scene. Hundreds of thousands of fans go to huge stadiums to see their favorite teams battle each other for the grand prize. However, it is also possible to follow these live events from the comfort of your own home. A whole coverage of the events is broadcasted on various platforms, to make sure that fans who could not make it to the stadium can also watch their team compete. In this post, we will show you which platforms are most commonly used nowadays.
Let’s begin with the most common streaming platform in the field of gaming: Twitch. With over a 100 million unique and 10 million daily users, the platform is the leader in the live consumption of gaming content. In 2016 the platform got bought by Amazon for 1 billion dollars and the numbers are not decreasing ever since. Twitch has gained popularity due to its live streaming feature and rise in interest in eSports. Any user can stream his gameplay, gain interest of the viewers or watch someone else’s gameplay himself. Besides that, Twitch also limits its broadcasting service only to gaming content. Every stream has a chat that offers live interaction with the events or the streamer himself.
Facebook signed a deal with global eSports company ESL to bring over 5,550 hours of eSports events and other original content to Facebook, including 1,500 hours of original programming. This deal could be a way to bring eSports events to a more mainstream audience. “With over 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this is a huge step toward expanding the reach of eSports among mainstream audiences,” said Johannes Schiefer, Vice President of Social Media and Editorial at ESL. All major ESL events will be livestreamed on Facebook, along with some exclusive Counter Strike: Global Office content.
In March, Twitter also announced to make a beginning with livestreaming eSports. Their latest partnerships with ESL and DreamHack. The agreement brings over 15 events from the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and DreamHack circuits to Twitter, where they’ll be available for live viewing on the web and mobile devices, through the Twitter app. With a weekly 30-minute show and live coverage from over 15 live events, Twitter will stream around 1,500 hours of eSports content this year.
One of the bigger competitors of Twitch may be YouTube. The platform is investing more and more time and money to improve their streaming service. In the first two months of 2017 the platform also signed two exclusive deals with popular Counter Strike leagues: the ESL Pro League and the eSports Championship Series. Besides that, YouTube also live streams weekend tournaments and other big tournaments like the Dota 2 Majors, League of Legends matches from around the world and more. If YouTube could make more exclusive deals with even bigger leagues in the future, they could potentially be the first to surpass Twitch.
And finally, while most platforms mentioned here are online, there are also some traditional cable companies who recently started broadcasting eSports as well. In 2016 the ESL announced to launch the first 24/7 eSports channel called eSportsTV. in July 2017, eSports made a debut, broadcasting ESL Brawlers and ESL SpeedRunners on Disney XD. This was aimed at students on summer break, showcasing not just eSports but “games, publishers, events and prominent personalities across the gaming landscape,” ESL said in a news release. The broadcasting of eSports on traditional cable television is also a good example of eSports becoming more and more mainstream.