Facebook Gets Exclusive English/Portuguese Streaming Rights To Two ESL Properties
Facebook has acquired the exclusive English and Portuguese-language streaming rights to two major esports properties -- the ESL Pro League and ESL One circuit. YouTube previously had the English-language rights to the Pro League. The deal covers four seasons -- or two years -- of Pro League action, and one year of the ESL One tournament series. The league is owned by the World Esports Association (WESA), a group comprised of tournament organizer ESL and 13 teams in the U.S. and Europe. ESL One is owned by ESL, and its Facebook streaming will begin with ESL One Genting starting Jan. 26. Terms were not disclosed. Both sides said the exclusive relationship will allow ESL and WESA to make better use of Facebook's social media and advertising tools to monetize viewers of the stream, and to use Facebook's unique size -- 2 billion global users -- to create new esports fans. Facebook will stream live competition in HD and VR, and ESL will be able to cross-post video from its own page to those maintained by individual players and teams. "This is the future of distribution and consumption of digital-first content like ours," WESA Exec Chair & Commissioner Ken Hershman said. "So for our teams, collectively, to be able to start to migrate a lot of their business over to Facebook, both as part of a league and individually, is a very exciting proposition." Facebook Head of Esports & Gaming Partnerships Patrick Chapman said that ESL now gets 45% of its live ticket sales from the platform, driven in part by a May '17 on-demand content programming deal. Other languages will be streamed on different platforms. About 65% of ESL's global audience is English-speaking.
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