For the first time, Hulu will be diving into the growing spectacle that is esports by delivering four original shows to subscribers. The new shows will be produced by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and will explore a collection of perspectives within the esports industry.
“Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of media and entertainment, and, through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL, we can now bring the popular world of esports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Hulu's Vice President of Content Acquisition, in ESL's blog post for the new partnership. “We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content – so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.”
The inked deal includes the following four shows:
- Player V. Player - Player V. Player is a gamified debate show with casters and esports influencers facing off over the hottest topics in esports. Panelists accrue points while debating both newsy and big picture topics for ultimate bragging rights, with a final challenge over a classic video game. The result is an urgent, passionate conversation amongst signature esports personalities, connecting communities while also pitting them against one another.
- Bootcamp - Bootcamp is a weekly docu-series following The Immortals, a top
CS:team, as they rebuild their roster leading up to IEM Oakland, one of the premiere esports events in North America that takes place on November 18-19 at Oracle Arena. With the tournament just weeks away, and currently three players short of a full team, The Immortals must find new talent and quickly build a cohesive team. Bootcamp will follow The Immortals through the extensive process of player evaluation, testing, and trials until they finally find the perfect players and then race to get ready for IEM Oakland. The series will also give unprecedented access to the inner workings of a professional esports team, with scrimmages and practice sessions at the team house as they formulate a new strategy and build team chemistry. GO
- Defining Moments - Dive deep into the most impactful moments in esports history with passionate casters and analysts explaining what made these moments so monumental. Defining Moments will cover many of the top games and fan the flames of ongoing debates about these plays. Each episode is centered on a specific theme for the week, whether trick-shots and insane reflex skills, controversial moves and their impact on gaming history, or long-lasting rivalries and how they came to be. The series will feature in-depth interviews with game designers, teammates, fans, rivals, even sports scientists assessing reaction speed – anyone who can add to the story of defining moments in esports.
- ESL Replay - ESL Replay is a fast-paced, condensed, documentary-style recap of the most memorable moments from four of the biggest multi-day esports tournaments in the world, including in-depth analyses and behind-the-scenes footage not part of the tournament live stream. A never-before-seen view of the tournament that will entertain those who watched the full tournament and those who missed the action and want to see what they missed. Each episode of Replay will be edited and aired within a week of the live event.
Twitch and YouTube have cornered the market when it comes to esport content thus far, but Hulu clearly recognizes the opportunity in front of them. I mean, a company like Nielsen doesn't create an entire esport analytics division for nothing. ESL's post on this new partnership even mentions Nielsen's latest esport study, called The Esports Playbook, and it revealed that fans spent roughly 3.5 hours per week streaming esports content. Don't expect this to be the last time a major on-demand service snatches up some esports content.