In an effort to bolster its eSports portfolio, Facebook signed a deal with ESL to gain over 5500 hours of eSports content to the social network (via Tech Crunch). Approximately 1500 of those hours will be original programming.
The partnership is Facebook's latest move in its ongoing pursuit of eSports broadcasts and other content designed to hone in on territory that has belonged to Twitch for years. Twitter has also initiated partnerships to broadcast gaming content, such as its deals with ESL and DreamHack, which will see more than 15 events livestreamed from Twitter.
These and other partnerships benefit ESL, which launched the world's first 24-hour eSports channel last spring, most of all. Per terms of each deal, ESL maintains the freedom to broadcast from numerous platforms rather than tying itself to one or two.
"With over 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this is a huge step toward expanding the reach of esports among mainstream audiences," Johannes Schiefer, ESL's vice president of social media and editorial at ESL, said in statement. "Last year, ESL content generated over 2 billion impressions and reached over 200 million users on Facebook globally. Now, with the addition of live streaming for all major ESL events, as well as exclusive content around CS:GO and ESEA, we are excited to expand our reach to more audiences and build strong local communities of highly engaged esports fans."
Twitch remains the dominant force in livestreaming and eSports. A report published last June, cited on Tech Crunch, shows that more than 100 million users consumed more than 800 million hours of eSports over 10 months.